Debenhams tops large list of employers ‘named and shamed’ over NMW

Despite previous naming and shaming it seems that employers are still failing to pay employees in accordance with the law.

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The government has published the latest name and shame list of companies who have failed to pay their employees the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage. Debenhams tops the list of 360 employers by reportedly underpaying 11,858 of their employees a total of £134,894.83.  The majority of employers on this latest list are from the hospitality, retail, hairdressing and social care industries.

The current National Minimum Wage is:

  • National Living Wage (25 years and over) – £7.20 per hour
  • 21-24 year olds – £6.95 per hour
  • 18-20 year olds – £5.55 per hour
  • 16-17 year olds – £4.00 per hour
  • Apprentice rate – £3.40 per hour **applicable to apprentices aged 16-18 and those aged 19 years and over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the NMW for their age

On 1 April 2017 the rates will rise to:

  • National Living Wage (25 years and over) – £7.50 per hour
  • 21-24 year olds – £7.05 per hour
  • 18-20 year olds – £5.60 per hour
  • 16-17 year olds – £4.05 per hour
  • Apprentice rate – £3.50 per hour **as above


TUC: We need prosecutions and higher fines for the worst offenders

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This should be a wake-up call for employers who value their reputation. If you cheat your staff out of the minimum wage you will be named and shamed.

“But we also need to see prosecutions and higher fines for the most serious offenders, especially those who deliberately flout the law.

“Minimum wage dodgers must have nowhere to hide. We need to see strong unions in every workplace to stop these abuses from happening.”


ELAS: No-one is exempt and no-one will escape… bottom line, pay the NMW to every worker!

ELAS employment law consultant Emma O’Leary explained:

“Once again this is the largest list published and the government says they are investigating a further 1,500 cases which suggests that companies appear to still not understand the significance of ensuring their liability to pay a minimum wage is met. 

“There are a large number of employers listed that failed to pay NMW to only 1 worker, so one would be forgiven for thinking that it seems quite harsh to name and shame something that may well have been as simple as administrative errors.  Some companies, however, are blatantly not so innocent especially when you see one of the biggest national retailers, Debenhams, topping the list by failing to pay the National Minimum Wage to almost 12 thousand employees.  No one is exempt and no one will escape – the government is very clear on this.

“Some of the excuses which have been given for underpaying workers include using tips to top up pay, docking workers’ wages to pay for their Christmas party and making staff pay for their own uniforms out of their salary; Debenhams said theirs was a ‘technical error in payroll calculations’. That might be true and in all innocence but companies need to ensure they have robust safeguards in place to avoid these errors. Other excuses might be failing to account for time travelling between care appointments or for sleep in shifts – one of the biggest issues in the care industry.

“The problem companies on this list have now is not only do they have to repay the arrears of wages owed and face potential reputational damage but they could also face financial penalties of up to £20,000 per worker. 

“Bottom line?  Pay the National Minimum Wage to every worker or employee as ultimately they will catch up with you…”


Kronos: employers can offset NMW through better use of technology

Neil Pickering, Marketing & Industry Insights Manager at Kronos said:

“By not paying the National Living Wage, even though genuine administrative error, the companies highlighted in today’s reports risk damaging their brand. Our research showed that it represents more than just an increase in salary for those in the lowest paid jobs, it has a direct impact on recruitment, retention and employee engagement.

“Organisations that implemented the National Living Wage early were looked upon more positively by potential employees. Businesses are competing fiercely with their peers for the most talented people, so to be perceived as a company that is careful to adhere to this legislation is very important. When mistakes are made the likelihood of staff leaving increases.

“While the National Living Wage has added to the financial pressure on UK employers, in many cases there are effective ways to offset this through better use of technology and empowering staff to increase efficiency and productivity.”



Author: Editorial Team

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