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Employers shamed for not meeting legal pay obligations

The government has named and shamed almost 200 businesses this is says have failed to pay the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage to their staff. It is the largest list of its type yet published in the UK since introduction in 2013.

Together, the businesses from a wide range of sectors owed their staff some £466,000 in unpaid wages. The list included restaurants, professional football clubs, recruitment firms, care homes and hairdressers.

As reported by BBC News: "Top of the list was a London restaurant which owed almost £100,000 to 30 employees. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said all the money owed had been paid back to workers."

To date, reported the BBC, 688 employers have been publicly named for not complying with their minimum wage obligations, resulting in arrears of more than £3.5m.

"It's not acceptable that some employers fail to pay at least the minimum wage their workers are entitled to," said new business minister, Margot James. "So we'll continue to crack down on those who ignore the law - including naming and shaming them."

TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, called for prosecution of the worst offenders. She said: "Bosses who try to duck the minimum wage must have nowhere to hide. We know that thousands more rogue employers are cheating their staff and getting away with it. The government must redouble their enforcement efforts. The minimum wage is set to rise in the coming months. Employers must ensure that they're paying all staff what they are legally entitled to."

The National Living Wage was introduced in April and means that employers must pay at least £7.20 an hour to employees aged 25 or more. Those aged between 21 and 25 are entitled to £6.70 under National Minimum Wage rules. The hourly rate is £5.30 for those aged 18 to 20 and £3.87 for those aged 16 and 17 (except for apprentices).

According to the Acas website: "With the introduction of the National Living Wage, the penalty for non-payment will be 200% of the amount owed, unless the arrears are paid within 14 days. The maximum fine for non-payment will be £20,000 per worker. However, employers who fail to pay will be banned from being a company director for up to 15 years."

Conor D'Arcy of the Resolution Foundation (a "non-partisan think-tank that works to improve the living standards of those in Britain on low to middle incomes"), said: "There's no excuse for any employer to dodge paying the minimum wage. It's particularly concerning to see so many firms among the usual suspects of hairdressing, nursery and elderly care who are illegally under-paying their staff."

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