23 October 2015
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published its latest list of minimum wage offenders.
Business Minister Nick Boles has “named and shamed” 100 employers who have underpaid 1,700 workers.
Monsoon Accessorize is the worst offender, failing to pay £104,507.83 to 1438 workers.
A spokesperson for the company said; “Monsoon Accessorize has recently been working with HMRC in a wide-ranging review of its payroll practices in relation to the national minimum wage. This review has revealed an historic, unintentional breach of the regulations in respect of its staff discount policies for Monsoon clothing. Monsoon is pleased that this issue has been identified and has already taken prompt action to remedy it.”
According to the press release “between them, the 115 companies named owed workers over £389,000 in arrears, and span sectors including hairdressing, retail, education, catering and social care”.
“Since the scheme was introduced in October 2013, 400 employers have been named and shamed, with total arrears of over £1,181,000 and total penalties of over £513,000”.
While the prosecution of those that do not pay the NMW is welcome, Nick Boles’ testimony that the government is “on the side of working people” borders on offensive.
And as the TUC points out – the government’s list is just the tip of the iceberg; they estimate that at least 250,000 workers were being denied their right to the minimum wage, with only a quarter of offenders being prosecuted.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“It’s good to see that the government is naming and shaming more companies who pay their employees less than the minimum wage. However, today’s list of offenders is only the tip of the iceberg. Many more employers are getting away with illegal underpayment.
“I am particularly saddened to see Monsoon Accessorize acting in breach of the law. A large firm with thousands of employees has no excuse for not having proper systems in place to ensure staff get their legal wages.
“The government must continue to increase enforcement of the minimum wage, and ensure that all workers get what they are owed. Bosses who try to duck the minimum wage should have nowhere to hide.
“For employees the message is clear: strong unions in every workplace are necessary to stop these abuses.”