Pubs outed in Government list for not paying minimum wage

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Named and shamed: number of pubs guilty of underpaying workers
Named and shamed: number of pubs guilty of underpaying workers

Related tags: Minimum wage, Wage

A number of pubs have been “named and shamed” in the Government’s latest list of companies that have failed to pay the national minimum and living wages.

The Government revealed that more than 13,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers will get a share of around £2m in back pay as part of the scheme after publishing the list of 233 businesses that have under paid workers.

As well as paying staff the money owed, employers on the list have been fined a record £1.9m by the Government. The hospitality industry was one of the most “prolific” offenders, along with retail and hairdressing, the Government said.

There are around 50 hospitality employers on the list, which equates to roughly £77,000 arrears for around 220 workers.

Pub company Cozy Pubs Limited, which owns four pubs, is on the list due to its pub the Eight Bells, Uttlesford, failed to pay £425.26 to one worker.

A spokesman for the pub said it was an "unusual situation which led to one mistake".

The spokesman said the person in question was paid the correct minimum wage, but was staying in staff accommodation at The Eight Bells for £60 a week.

After a routine enquiry from the Inland Revenue, it was discovered the maximum charge for accommodation was £37.45 [at that time]. Any value above this is deducted from Gross Wages and hourly rate checked.

"We had to go back 12 months and check if any hourly rate was below the minimum," said the spokesman. "Luckily staff staying on premises were managers or assistants on salaries of £18,000 to £22,000.

"Only one person who had left some months previously and being only 21 on a salary at the minimum wage was found to be affected. This person was paid as soon as we became aware of the error and we implemented a different procedure."

The Freemasons Arms, Wisell, Lancashire, which appears on the Top 50 Gastropub list, is also on the list after failing to pay £1,166.85 to two workers. Proprietor Steven Smith told the Morning Advertiser​: "It's all been a big misunderstanding and I feel very upset by it all. This is not they way that we operate our business."

Other pub businesses on the list included Pires Restaurant Limited trading as the Butchers Arms (now under new ownership), Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, which failed to pay £1,794.16 to one worker and Penrhyn Inns Limited trading as the White Hart, Oldham, Greater Manchester, which failed to pay £807.70 to one worker.

Undercutting honest employers

Business minister Margot James said: “It is against the law to pay workers less than legal minimum wage rates, short-changing ordinary working people and undercutting honest employers.

“Today’s naming round identifies a record £2m of back pay for workers and sends the clear message to employers that the Government will come down hard on those who break the law.”

Common errors made by employers in this round included deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, failure to account for overtime hours, and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers.

HM Revenue and Customs director Melissa Tatton added: “HMRC is committed to getting money back into the pockets of underpaid workers, and continues to crack down on employers who ignore the law.

“Those not paying workers the national minimum or living wage can expect to face the consequences.”

To see the full list of employers visit here.

Related topics: Legislation

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