Academy and private school fined for failing to pay minimum wage

Gladys Abbott
March 10, 2018

Restaurant chains Wagamama and TGI Fridays have each been fined an undisclosed amount for failing to pay staff the National Minimum Wage.

Underpayers also include the football clubs Stoke City and Birmingham City, the rugby union club London Irish, as well as hairdressers, cafes and auto wash firms.

A spokesman said the error arose from a misunderstanding of how the minimum wage regulations apply to staff uniforms.

A total of £1.1m in back pay was identified for 9,200 workers, with retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses the most prolific offenders.

It was followed by TGI Friday's and hotel giant Marriott.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: "The world of work is changing and we have set out our plans to give millions of workers enhanced rights to ensure everyone is paid and treated fairly in the workplace".

'This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught.

The national minimum or "living" wage is now £7.50 for people aged 25 and above, but will rise to £7.83 from April 1.

Shoe Zone was also named on the list for not paying £804.88 to 15 workers.

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'We have gladly made payments to current and previous employees who missed out dating back from 2016 to 2013'.

"These cases involving big name brands show that the issue is not so much that they are not paying the minimum hourly rate but that the business is not factoring in the impact of other obligations on wages - uniform costs being the most common thread here, but also some were incorrectly factoring in the costs of late night cabs and accommodation", she said.

From the start of next month, the National Living Wage for people aged over 25 will go up from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour.

He added: 'When an error was identified by a routine HMRC audit in 2015, we co-operated fully with HMRC and promptly reimbursed all those affected.

'The total figure quoted in today's HMRC list relates to reimbursing team members a shoe allowance.

'We apologise to all our associates impacted by this error and have taken steps to ensure it can not happen again'.

The National Living and Minimum Wage, which every worker is entitled to, is an essential part of building the higher wage, lower welfare, lower tax society that the United Kingdom needs. We have also updated our uniform policy and we now pay a uniform supplement to cover the black jeans.

Stoke City, which repaid £1,103 to seven workers, said the underpayment related to an historic practice of allowing staff to pay for tickets and club merchandise via deductions from their monthly salaries.

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