Last week, 202 employers have been named and shamed by the government for failing to pay their workers the minimum wage.

Cumulatively, they were fined a total of almost £7 million for breaches investigated between 2017 and 2019, with over 60,000 workers being underpaid.

The spectrum of companies being mentioned encompasses prominent high street brands as well as small businesses and sole traders, conveying a resolute government stance that no employer is immune to the obligation of providing their employees with the legally mandated minimum wage.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice & Consultancy Director at Peninsula, says this serves as a stark reminder for employers of the consequences of underpaying their staff.

“Getting NMW calculations wrong can lead to costly pay-outs and severe reputational damage. The relaunch of the government’s naming and shaming scheme in 2020 means businesses are under more scrutiny than ever to get this right.

“Given the complexity of minimum wage regulations and the fact they usually rise every April, it’s beneficial for organisations to proactively undertake regular audits, to identify any mistakes or concerns and make the necessary adjustments without involvement from HMRC.

“Paying staff correctly is fundamental in ensuring a positive company culture, and protecting motivation, productivity and retention levels across the workforce.

“If an employee isn’t paid at least the national minimum wage, they can make a claim to the employment tribunal against their employer or complain to HMRC.

“But the potential consequences reach far beyond the financial penalties; organisations also run the risk of being publicly named and shamed by the Government, like these 202 employers have been, and/or banned from being a company director for up to 15 years.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.