Wagamama, football clubs 'named and shamed' for minimum wage violation

Wagamama underpaid 2,630 of its workers by £167,000

Wagamama underpaid 2,630 of its workers by £167,000REUTERS

The government today named and shamed Holbrook Academy in Suffolk, and Lyndhurst School in Surrey, as two of almost 180 employers found to have broken national minimum wage laws.

In its response to the Matthew Taylor Review of the gig economy, called Good Work, the government has already announced plans to give all workers the right to a payslip.

As well as recovering back pay for 9,200 workers, the government fined 180 employers nationwide a total of £1.3million in penalties.

The latest list by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has named 179 employers that are failing to pay employees the legal minimum wage.

The underpayment by Wagamama, TGI Fridays and Karen Millen was related to uniform cots.

Wagamama blamed what it described as an inadvertent misunderstanding of how the minimum wage regulations applied to uniforms, adding "as soon as we were made aware of this in 2016 we acted immediately to correct the position".

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage not only have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates but also face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker. We have also updated our uniform policy and we now pay a uniform supplement to cover the black jeans.

This was considered as asking them to buy a form of uniform, "and so we should have paid them for it", the spokesperson said.

Karen Millen had to repay almost £352 each to 28 workers. The minimum wage has been around for almost 20 years - there's no excuse for not paying it. The company said it had reimbursed those affected.

On this year's list are companies including TGI Fridays, Marriott Hotels and Wagamama.

"We did not consciously pay below the minimum wage".

"We apologise to all our associates impacted by this error, and have taken steps to ensure it can not happen again".

Wagamama failed to pay £133,212 to 2,630 workers - the most of any of the companies named.

It said the issue arose due to its former practice of allowing staff to pay for tickets and merchandise bought from the club from their monthly salaries.

"The Low Pay Commission is pleased to see the Government maintaining the momentum of its minimum wage enforcement. This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught".

Business minister Andrew Griffiths said today's "name and shame" list should remind employers to "get their house in order" before the national minimum wage rate increases from 1 April.

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