Businesses that failed to pay staff the national minimum wage have been forced to pay back more than £2 million in unpaid salary.

In addition to paying workers back money they owed, 233 employers on the government’s ‘named and shamed’ list were fined £1.9 million.

The national living wage is currently £7.50 an hour for employees over the age of 25, and £7.05 an hour for those aged between 21 and 24.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were among the worst offenders.

Common errors made by businesses include:

  • deducting money from salary to pay for uniforms
  • failure to account for overtime hours
  • wrongly paying apprentice rates (£3.50 an hour for under-19s or those in their first year) to workers.

Quote from Nigel Holland:

“It is important that all laws are complied with by all businesses and employers. Underpaying employees will not only cause the business to gain a bad reputation which may lead to a loss in custom, but will also result in major fines being charged to the business.

A record total of £2 million back pay for the workers who have lost out shows an accurate representation of how the government will discipline those employers who do not comply with the law.

In order for the honest businesses to avoid these penalties they should ensure they are always aware of any changes in the national minimum wage so that they do not underpay their employees.”