Last reviewed 4 January 2021

Tesco, Pizza Hut and Superdrug are among more than 130 companies fined and shamed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for failing to pay their workers the minimum wage.

In total, the offending firms failed to pay £6.7 million to their workers in what the Government calls a completely unacceptable breach of employment law.

Relaunching the naming and shaming scheme after a two-year pause to allow for an evaluation into its effectiveness to be carried out, Business Minister Paul Scully described the list as a wake-up call to rogue bosses.

The review was completed in February 2020 (see Minimum wage naming and shaming to continue) and decided that the threshold for naming employers should be increased from £100 arrears in National Minimum Wage (NMW) payments to £500.

In this first list since the review, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rogue-employers-named-and-shamed-for-failing-to-pay-minimum-wage, Tesco failed to pay £5,096,946.13 to 78,199 workers while Pizza Hut failed to pay £845,936.41 to 10,980 workers and Superdrug left 2222 workers without pay totalling £15,228.57.

All three said the underpayments were historic errors and staff had been swiftly reimbursed.

Mr Scully said: “Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it is the law. It is never acceptable for any employer to short-change their workers, but it is especially disappointing to see huge household names who absolutely should know better on this list.”

He explained that one of the main causes of minimum wage breaches was low-paid employees being made to cover work costs such as paying for uniform, training or parking fees.

Also, some employers failed to raise employees’ pay after they had a birthday which should have moved them into a different NMW bracket.

While not all breaches of minimum wage rules are intentional, it is the responsibility of all employers to ensure they are following the law. With that in mind, BEIS has produced an “educational bulletin” that summarises guidance on paying workers and common reasons for underpayment.

This can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948356/nmw-naming-scheme-round-16-educational-bulletin.pdf.