Minimum wage 'crooks' named by HMRC

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The Government has released its latest report into employers who owe staff money after failing to pay them the national minimum wage over the past 12 months.

The HMRC launched investigations into all of the employers after staff called the Pay and Work Rights helpline to report problems with their pay. Following an initiative introduced last year, HMRC released a list of those who were found to owe staff money due to poor practice. 

The list of 25 businesses (see below) includes many from the retail and hospitality sectors. The total owed to employees is more than £43,000 and the companies involved will incur fines totalling £21,000. 

The worst offender is hairdresser Renaissance in the Wirral. Owners Christine Cadden and Nicola Banks currently owe three staff a total of £7,310. They were followed by Yorkshire mechanics Arthur Simpson & Co (owing £6,426) and Central Heating Services of Hampshire (£6,200.28).

The Government plans to introduce harsher penalties of at least £20,000 per employee for employers who fail to pay the minimum wage, as outlined in the Queen's Speech last week. Under the current system employers can only face maximum fines of £20,000 irrespective of the number of employees affected.

The national minimum wage currently stands at £6.31 for workers aged 22 and above, £5.03 for those between 18 and 20, and £3.72 for employees under 18. 

Business minister Jenny Willott said paying employees less than the minimum wage is not only wrong, but illegal.

"If employers break the law they need to know that they will face tough consequences. Any worker who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it," she said. 

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady welcomed the practice of naming and shaming "minimum wage crooks".

"Employers caught in the act deserve to be fined and have their reputation ruined," she said. "This should send a clear message that dodging the minimum wage does not pay. All minimum wage cheats should be named and shamed, and HMRC need greater resources to catch even more crooks."

HMRC's Top 25 minimum wage abusers
(name, location, amount owing)

1) Renaissance, Wirral, neglected to pay £7,310.65 to three workers

2) Arthur Simpson & Co, Bradford, neglected to pay £6,426.12 to a worker

3) Central Heating Services, Hampshire, neglected to pay £6,200.28 to four workers

4) Cargilfield School, Edinburgh, neglected to pay £3,739.58 to a worker

5) A2ZEE Construction, Cramlington, neglected to pay £3,375.51 to 14 workers

6) Eugenio, Bristol, neglected to pay £3,037.53 to two workers

7) The Wheatsheaf Inn, Cheshire, neglected to pay £2,057.88 to five workers

8) Steven Stainton Joinery, Cumbria, neglected to pay £1,415.82 to a worker

9) Runbaro, Swindon, neglected to pay £1,413.88 to a worker

10) The Bath Hotel, Reading, neglected to pay £1,237.79 to two workers

11) Classic Carpentry, Godalming, neglected to pay £1,236.72 to a worker

12) We are Mop!, London, neglected to pay £1,018.05 to two workers

13) Legends Hairdressers, Colchester, neglected to pay £823.40 to a worker

14) Saftdwin, Hampshire, neglected to pay £806.37 to two workers

15) Master Distribution, Essex, neglected to pay £718.62 to a worker

16) Perth Hotels, Perth, neglected to pay £556.80 to a worker

17) Bryants Nurseries, Hertfordshire, neglected to pay £494.07 to a worker

18) Dove Mill Retail Outlet, Bolton, neglected to pay £461.84 to a worker

19) Luigi's Little Italy, Yorkshire, neglected to pay £281.04 to five workers

20) CPS SW, Exmouth, neglected to pay £261.29 to a worker

21) Avenue Agricultural, Northamptonshire, neglected to pay £256.55 to a worker

22) Dakal, Northampton, neglected to pay £252.00 to two workers

23) Zoom, Havant, neglected to pay £242.28 to three workers

24) HSS Hire Service Group, Manchester, neglected to pay £149.00 to 15 workers

25) Sun Shack, Hamilton, neglected to pay £134.35 to eight workers

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