Business

More firms failing to pay minimum wage are named

Foot locker exterior Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Foot Locker is said to owe £16,718.25 to about 600 workers

Ministers have publicly named 48 employers including French Connection and Foot Locker that have paid their workers less than the minimum wage.

The companies owe workers £162,000 and face fines of £67,000.

They span sectors including fashion, publishing and hospitality, and include a Champneys spa and a branch of hairdressing chain Toni and Guy.

The accused companies have 28 days to respond to the allegations.

Toni and Guy said: "As a company with over 400 salons globally under its brand umbrella, we do not condone any kind of mishandling of staff wages. Once made aware, the franchisee resolved the issue swiftly."

G1 Venues, trading as Arta Restaurant in Glasgow, was the worst offender, having failed to pay £45,124 to 2,895 workers, according to HM Revenue and Customs.

Fashion retailer French Connection UK, London, failed to pay almost £16,500 to 367 workers, while Freedom Sportsline - trading as Foot Locker - owes more than £16,700 to 601 employees.

A spokesman for French Connection said the underpayments were regrettable but the amounts were small in most cases.

"French Connection co-operated fully with HMRC in assessing the amounts involved and paid the arrears at the earliest possible opportunity. French Connection fully supports the UK Government's minimum wage legislation and we are apologising to our staff for the inconvenience," he added.

Ongoing probe

In October 2013 the Government revised rules allowing it to publicly name companies that have been found to breach wage laws.

Since that time, a total of 210 companies have been accused of wage theft, after investigations by HMRC.

In total, those firms owe some £635,000 to workers, as well as fines of nearly £248,000.

Business minister Jo Swinson said: "There's no excuse for companies that don't pay staff the wages they're entitled to."

Last week, the government announced that the minimum wage will increase by 20p an hour to £6.70 from October.

It stands at £6.50 per hour for adults, £5.13 per hour for 18 to 20-year-olds and £3.79 per hour for 16 to 17-year-olds. Apprentices must be paid at least £2.73 an hour.

Employers who fail to pay the appropriate wages can face fines of up to £20,000, as well as criminal prosecution.

Notable minimum wage violators
The Clothing Works, Corby (ceased trading) Owes £17,007.08 to 38 workers
Freedom Sportsline, trading as Foot Locker Owes £16,718.25 to 601 workers
French Connection UK, London Owes £16,436.05 to 367 workers
Champneys Springs Ltd, Swadlingcote Owes £1,950 to 5 workers
Toni and Guy, Wilmslow Owes £1,031.12 to 1 worker
Vertu Motors, trading as Bristol Street Motors, Gateshead Owes £1,001.42 to 1 worker

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