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UK Businesses Under Scrutiny for National Minimum Wage Violations

In a recent development, the UK's Department for Business and Trade has taken action against numerous businesses found to be in violation of national minimum wage (NMW) regulations. The department has named and shamed 524 companies, including prominent brands like Estee Lauder Cosmetics, EasyJet, Greggs, and Currys. These companies collectively owe nearly £16 million to over 172,000 employees, along with additional penalties. Notably, Staffline Recruitment faces the largest bill, with approximately £5.1 million owed to more than 36,000 workers.

UK Businesses Under Scrutiny for National Minimum Wage Violations

This revelation comes ahead of the scheduled increase in the UK minimum wage for workers older than 21, set to take effect on April 1. The government's announcement underscores the firm stance on enforcing compliance, with penalties applicable irrespective of intent.

An accompanying bulletin released by the department sheds light on common violations detected. It reveals that 35% of penalized employers deducted pay for items like food or training, while 31% failed to compensate workers for their entire working time. Additionally, 16% of the companies paid incorrect apprenticeship rates, indicating widespread noncompliance across various sectors.


Patricia Rice, independent commissioner at the Low Pay Commission, emphasizes the detrimental impact of NMW underpayment, stating that it not only deprives workers of their rightful earnings but also undermines law-abiding firms.

Charlie Barnes, director and head of employment legal services at RSM UK, issues a caution to businesses regarding the upcoming NMW increase. He stresses the severe repercussions of noncompliance and advises companies to proactively prepare by budgeting for pay hikes, reviewing employee contracts, and ensuring accurate application of wage rates and deductions.

Meanwhile, amid the enforcement actions, high-street retailers such as Marks & Spencer (M&S), Aldi, Lidl, and Sainsbury's are taking proactive measures by raising their minimum pay to £12 per hour. Stuart Machin, CEO of M&S, underscores their commitment to being a trusted employer amidst intensifying competition for talent in the labor market.



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