Numerous companies have been found to have breached the NMW/NLW including big well know brands!
Wagamama, had to repay £133,212 to 2,630 workers, making it the worst offender in the latest naming and shaming list, said there had been an “inadvertent misunderstanding” of how minimum wage regulations applied to uniforms.
“In the past we didn’t realise that asking our front-of-house staff to wear casual black jeans or a skirt, with their Wagamama branded top, was considered as asking them to buy a form of uniform and so we should have paid them for it. Lots of other businesses were also unaware of this regulation around casual wear,” a spokesperson said. “We have gladly made payments to current and previous employees who missed out, dating back from 2016 to 2013. We have also updated our uniform policy and we now pay a uniform supplement to cover the black jeans.”
TGI Fridays repaid £59,348 to 2,302 workers in relation to asking them to purchase black shoes as part of a uniform.
Karen Millen, which had to repay £9,847 to 28 workers, or nearly £352 each, said an HMRC audit in 2016 had revealed that a number of staff were paid less than the minimum wage because they were required to wear the fashion brand’s clothing, purchased at a discount.
Marriott Hotels was the second-worst offender on the government list, having to repay £71,723 to 279 workers. It said some hotels had deducted charges for live-in accommodation or late-night taxis from wages, taking their pay below the minimum wage. “We have since updated our payroll system so that this cannot happen again and reimbursed all impacted associates,” a spokesperson said.
What should you do?
Investigate what your company does deduct from employee’s wages as some deductions are illegal if they take the basic salary below NMW/NLW. For instance, you can take the wages below NMW/NLW for deduction of training costs (if there is a signed training agreement) or misconduct (if covered in their contract) but you shouldn’t deduct for payments connected to their employment or necessary for the job eg. uniform, meals. Please be aware though that if you are making any deductions, the employee should be informed in writing before doing so and it generally should be covered in their contract or an agreement.
ELCONS can assist in making sure you are compliant with statutory requirements!
If you are an employer and need specialist advice for all your HR issues, then talk to us. We have many years of experience in your sector.
We are here 7 days a week, 24hrs a day, 365 days a year ensuring that we provide all our clients with up to date employment law advice when it’s needed.
Elcons employer helpline: 01422 822 842