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The 208 companies named and shamed for not paying minimum wage including Matalan, Waterstones, Schuh and House of Fraser

BIG high street brands, transport companies and hotels were among the 208 firms forced to return £1.2 million to workers due to minimum wage breaches.

Waterstones, Schuh, House of Fraser and Matalan were today named and shamed by the government for breaking the law on how much staff are paid.

Big name brands were among the companies named and shamed this year.

Other companies in trouble over their payment practices include The Tanning Shop, Nike Group Hotels, London General Transport Services and Greencore Food To Go convenience stores.

The Business Department said that collectively the 208 firms face penalties of almost £2million after leaving 12,000 workers out of pocket.

The firms have already paid staff back, but also owe hefty penalties which are paid to the government.

All the breaches on the list happened between 2014 and 2019. They’ve been made public following the completion of an investigation by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The current minimum wage and living wage rates in the UK are:

  • Apprentices: £4.30 an hour
  • Under-18s: £4.62 an hour
  • 18-20s: £6,56 an hour
  • 21-22s: £8.36 an hour
  • Over 23s: £8.91 an hour

These minimums are set to rise from April 2022, with the lowest apprentice rate reaching £4.81 and the highest rate for over 23s rising to £9.50 an hour.

The government says that just 11% of the breaches were a result of firms failing to raise their pay in line with guidelines.

More common causes were deductions that reduce pay, such as workers’ costs to comply with the dress code (27%), unpaid working time e.g. mandatory training, trial shifts or travel time (29%) and failure to pay the correct rate to apprentices (16%).

The companies being named range from multinational businesses and large high street names to SMEs and sole traders.

But the Department for Business added that while not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, there is no excuse for underpaying workers.

Minister for Labour Markets Paul Scully said: “Today’s 208 businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working employees, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.

“With Christmas fast approaching, it’s more important than ever that cash is not withheld from the pockets of workers. So don’t be a scrooge – pay your staff properly.”

The government says it wants to send a clear message that no employer is exempt from paying their workers the statutory minimum wage.

House of Fraser (which is now under new management) breached the minimum wage law when it failed to pay £16,235.19 to 354 workers. Meanwhile, Waterstones failed to pay £8,689.54 to 58 workers.

Schuh and Matalan had far smaller breaches. Schuh underpaid 39 workers by £807.38 collectively, while Matalan owed £1,634.48 to 16 workers.

None of these companies appeared on last year’s list. SE has contacted the remaining three for a comment and will update this story when we know more.

Some of the biggest breaches were by far less well-known companies.

When the Challenge Network went into liquidation on May 26, 2020, Lambeth, it failed to pay £154,682.33 to 3,600 workers.

And Mr Rupert Galliers-Pratt, didn’t pay £64,094.37, which was owed to just seven workers. The works out at over £9,000 a person on average.

The third biggest missed payment was The Tanning Shop, which owed £34,738.83 to 355 workers.

The smallest breaches on the list are companies that underpaid just one person by a few hundred pounds.

A Matalan spokesperson said: “This relates to an historic administrative correction, regarding a very small number of employees, which we proactively identified and resolved with the relevant personnel and notified HMRC back in 2018.

“Our people are at the heart of our business and we are committed to operating at the highest standards to ensure Matalan is a great and rewarding place to work and grow.”


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The 208 companies named and shamed for not paying minimum wage including Matalan, Waterstones, Schuh and House of Fraser