Last year, the government said that it was going to introduce a new naming scheme to ‘shame’ employers who hadn’t paid their staff correctly under the NMW rules. It published its first ‘revamped’ list in December 2020 which named 139 companies that had underpaid staff by £6.7 million between 2016 and 2018.

It has now published a new list naming 191 businesses that have breached national minimum wage law between 2011 and 2018. These include household names such as John Lewis, the Body Shop and Pret A Manger.

HMRC found that £2.1 million was owed to over 34,000 workers and issued £3.2 million in fines.

The most common breaches were:

  • Wrongly deducted pay from workers’ wages, including for uniform and expenses (47%)
  • Failing to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime (30%)
  • Not paying the correct apprenticeship rate (19%).

Under the previous naming and shaming scheme, HMRC referred the names of employers to the government to consider naming once all arrears had been paid to workers and the penalty had been paid. Employers that didn't pay were sued, but wouldn't be named until that process had ended - which could be many months, or even years, later. 

The new scheme is much quicker and non-compliant employers now only have 28 days to appeal or pay before their names are sent to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to be included on the list.

This is why many of the names on the current and previous lists relate to underpayments that occurred, in some cases, many years ago.

Concerned you might have underpaid staff?

The NMW legislation is extremely complicated. If you are worried you may not be paying your staff correctly, please contact Glenn Hayes for advice. 

If you have underpaid, we can help you to self correct without appearing on the naming register.

Our fixed price employment law service

If you are interested in finding out about how we can support you with our fixed-fee annual retainer, or flexible discounted bank of hours service, please contact Gareth Finney: gareth.finney@irwinmitchell.com or 0778 317 0084.