Ministers have publicly named another 48 employers— amongst those are French Connection and Foot Locker— that have paid their workers less than the minimum wage.
The companies owe workers £162,000 and face fines of £67,000. The companies span across the fashion, publishing and hospitality sector. The accused companies have 28 days to respond to the allegations.
G1 Venues, trading as Arta Restaurant in Glasgow, was the worst offender, having failed to pay £45,124 to 2,895 workers, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Fashion retailer French Connection UK, London, failed to pay almost £16,500 to 367 workers, while Freedom Sportsline – trading as Foot Locker – owes more than £16,700 to 601 employees.
In October 2013 the Government revised rules that those breaking the law face having to have to pay back the arrears owed to workers, a financial penalty and being publicly named. Since then, a total of 210 companies have been accused of wage theft, after investigations by HMRC. In total, those firms owe some £635,000 to workers, as well as fines of nearly £248,000.
HMRC is investigating complaints made to the pay and work rights helpline and also conducts its own checks in areas where there is considered a higher risk of workers not being paid the legal minimum wage. Employers who fail to pay the appropriate wages can face fines of up to £20,000, as well as criminal prosecution.
Last week, the Government announced that the minimum wage will increase by 20p an hour to £6.70 from October, which will benefit more than 1.4 million workers.
It currently stands at £6.50 per hour for adults, £5.13 per hour for 18 to 20-year-olds and £3.79 per hour for 16 to 17-year-olds. Apprentices must be paid at least £2.73 an hour.