Government names and shames hospitality firms paying under the minimum wage

The government has ‘named and shamed’ sixty-two firms in the hospitality sector for not meeting their obligations to the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. Representatives of some of the businesses have said that they feel targeted and that the authorities have turned the spotlight on this industry in particular.

Where is the list published?

This has come in the thirteenth round of this government exercise, seeing a total of 260 businesses named for underpaying their staff. The hospitality sector in the UK owed 9.4% of the total outstanding back pay, details of which are published by the Government department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

What has been the response?

Many of the businesses involved have claimed that they are paying staff the minimum wage but that issues have been caused due to administrative difficulties, for example, caused by clocking in errors for staff working split shifts or by deposits taken for uniform or accommodation being deducted in calculations when staff had in fact already been reimbursed. Action has been taken to ensure these errors do not happen again.

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All of the sixty-two employers that are identified in the latest BEIS report have been found to have arrears of £100 or more, and in many cases, vastly more than this, and have been issued with a notice of underpayment. The workers involved could have been carrying out any of a vast range of tasks, from general kitchen work to restocking cold rooms, such as, or waiting tables.

What are the current minimum wage requirements?

The current hourly rates to meet the minimum wage rates are £7.05 for employees aged between 21 and 24; £5.60 for those aged 18 to 20; £4.05 for employees aged between 16 and 17 and £3.50 for apprentices either under 19, or in year one of their apprenticeship, if over 19. Rates will rise in April 2018.

The government has identified £8 million in outstanding back pay since 2013, affecting 58,000 employees and 1,500 employers, who have received fines totalling £5 million. It plans to spend over £25 million on the enforcement of the minimum wage this year and has promised to take decisive action against firms who do not meet their obligations to staff on an ongoing basis.

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