British government raps companies for underpaying staff
London: Nearly 180 employers in Britain were named and shamed on Friday for underpaying more than 9,000 minimum wage workers by $1.52 million.
As well as recovering backpay for 9,200 workers, the British government also fined the employers a total of $1.8 million in penalties for breaking national minimum wage laws, Xinhua quoted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as saying.
BEIS said the most prolific offending sectors were retailers, hospitality businesses and hairdressers.
Topping the list was Westminster-based restaurant chain Wagamama Limited for fail to pay $184,000 to 2,630 of its workers. The list also included the hotel chain Marriott Hotels and popular eateries TGI Fridays.
Also named and shamed were two big-name football clubs, Birmingham City and Stoke City.
The list was published ahead of rise on April 1 when the National Living Wage will be $10.8 an hour, a raise $0.46 an hour.
Later this month BEIS is to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the new rates and encourage workers to speak to their employer if they think they are being underpaid.
"There are no excuses for short-changing workers. This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught, not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200 percent of wages owed.
"Today's naming round serves as a sharp reminder to employers to get their house in order ahead of minimum wage rate rises on April 1," Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said.
Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the Low Pay Commission (LPC), said: "The recent announcement that all workers will have a right to pay slips stating the hours they have worked."
Around 300,000 British workers do not currently get pay slips.
BEIS said since 2013 the scheme has identified around $12.5 million in back pay for around 67,000 workers, with more than 1,700 employers fined a total of $8.7 million. The government has also committed $35 million for minimum wage enforcement in 2017 to 2018.
A spokesperson for BEIS said: "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 per cent of arrears, capped at 20,000 pounds per worker.
(Indo-Asian News Service)