The government has named and shamed a number of hospitality businesses as part of a list of almost 200 companies that failed to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage.
Restaurant San Lorenzo in Wimbledon topped the list, having failed to pay just under £100,000 to 30 workers.
Business minister Margot James revealed the names of 198 firms, the largest list to date, which between them were £466,219 in arrears, according to figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Companies ranged from hotels, foodservice businesses, football clubs, care homes and hairdressers. All of the money owed to workers has since been paid back to them.
Since the scheme was introduced in October 2013 a total of 688 employers have been named with total arrears of more than £3.5m.
Ghigo Berni, general manager of the family business San Lorenzo in Wimbledon told The Caterer: “At San Lorenzo it has always been our intention to comply with the law regarding minimum wage.
“When it became apparent that errors had been made in applying the national minimum wage legislation, we immediately took steps to put things right.
“We have received confirmation from HMRC back in August 2015 that they are satisfied that we have paid the identified workers their arrears of pay.”
He added: “Furthermore we have adopted a new employee remuneration scheme, with the agreement of all employees. The new scheme has been designed both to comply with the national minimum wage legislation and to assist us to monitor future compliance.”
Macdonald Hotels was also on the list for having neglected to pay £2,123.10 to six workers. It blamed the error on calculating the employees accommodation offset.
A spokeswoman for Macdonald Hotels said: “We employ over 4,000 people and all are paid at least the minimum wage, however, an error occurred in calculating the accommodation offset for six members of our live-in staff, which regrettably caused this situation. We have already repaid each of them the money and apologised.”
Paul O’Hanlon, the general manager of the Black Swan hotel, responded to the business failing to pay £5,836.66 to 10 workers.
He said: “The issue of paying less than the minimum wage applied to 10 of our employees, this arose unintentionally due to a lack of knowledge on the amount charged for live-in accommodation to those employees, to whom this arrangement applied.
“There is a ‘fixed ceiling’ on the amount of rent live-in employees can be charged per week, and we had unwittingly charged slightly over this amount. This meant that ten employees received a ‘net’ wage, i.e. after deduction of their live-in expenses, of just under the national minimum wage.”
He explained the hotel took action as soon as the error was revealed including reducing the weekly rent for all live-in employees and backdating refunds to the start of their tenancy.
He added: “I wish to offer reassurance that we prioritise staff welfare at the hotel. We are proud of the relatively low turnover of staff here and our high ratio of long standing staff members.”
Addressing the £4,000 that was owed to one worker, a Catering Academy spokesperson said: “When one of our apprentices successfully became a full-time employee, a rare administration error was made by not increasing her salary to reflect this change in circumstance. Less than three weeks after becoming aware of the issue, we had corrected our mistake by paying our employee the money owed to her.”
James said the government would continue to name and shame those who fail to pay employees the National Minimum Wage.
She added: “The government is determined to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. That means making sure everyone gets paid the wages they are owed – including our new, higher National Living Wage. It is not acceptable that some employers fail to pay at least the minimum wage their workers are entitled to.
“So we’ll continue to crack down on those who ignore the law, including by naming and shaming them.”
The National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over was introduced on 1 April and is set at £7.20 per hour, while the National Minimum Wage continues to apply to those under the age of 25.
Its introduction has meant a £900-a-year pay rise for someone working full time on the minimum wage.
The government said it would enforce the National Living Wage equally robustly.
The hospitality firms named on the list included:
- San Lorenzo, Wimbledon, London, which BEIS said neglected to pay £99,541.98 to 30 workers.
- Black Swan (Yorkshire) trading as the Black Swan Hotel, York, which BEIS said neglected to pay £5,836.66 to 10 workers.
- Catering Academy, Tamworth, Staffordshire, which BEIS said neglected to pay £4,220.48 to one worker.
- Ro-Ro Restaurants, trading as Oldfields Noted Eating House, Durham, which BEIS said neglected to pay £2,463.98 to three workers.
- Mr Chi Kin Cheng, trading as the Modern Chinese Takeaway, Derby, which BEIS said neglected to pay £2,124.58 to one worker.
- Macdonalds Hotels & Resorts, Bathgate, West Lothian, which BEIS said neglected to pay £2,123.10 to six workers.
- Cheasty, trading as Papa Johns, Edinburgh, EH8, which BEIS said neglected to pay £1,811.33 to 19 workers.
- Mr Darren Harding and Mrs Amy Harding, trading as the Wheatsheaf, Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire, which BEIS said neglected to pay £1,792.69 to two workers.
- McLeod Hotels, trading as Beechwood Close Hotel, York, which BEIS said neglected to pay £1,526.20 to 13 workers.
- The Dinner Bell, trading as the Chequers, Church Road, Churchill, Oxfordshire, which BEIS said neglected to pay £1,190.68 to one worker.
- Formby Hall Golf Club, trading as Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa, Formby, Merseyside, which BEIS said neglected to pay £1,047.00 to one worker.
- Mr Abdul Muslim, trading as Light of India, Oban, Argyll and Bute, which BEIS said neglected to pay £927.60 to one worker.
- Mr Steven Jenklns, trading as Rock Salt Café & Brasserie, Plymouth, which BEIS said neglected to pay £779.00 to two workers.
- Ebina, trading as Ebi Sushi, Derby, which BEIS said neglected to pay £447.97 to four workers.
- Suzy Mcs Corporate Catering, Coventry, which BEIS said neglected to pay £392.18 to one worker.
- Terracotta Foods, trading as Freddy’s Chicken & Pizza, Northampton, which BEIS said neglected to pay £370.80 to one worker.
- Le Nantais Bistro (Hove), Brighton, which BEIS said neglected to pay £362.44 to one worker.
- Purple Pig Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough, which BEIS said neglected to pay £226.00 to one worker.
- Greene King Retail Services, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, which BEIS said neglected to pay £211.89 to one worker.
- Pomodoro 1, Bewdley, Worcestershire, which BEIS said neglected to pay £177.64 to two workers.
- Plum Buffets, Coventry, which BEIS said neglected to pay £156.00 to one worker.
- Shepherdess Café, London, EC14, which BEIS said neglected to pay £141.70 to one worker.
- IPizza UK, trading as IPizza, London W3, which BEIS said neglected to pay £130.00 to one worker.
- LM Bubble Tea, trading as Mooboo, Liverpool, which BEIS said neglected to pay £117.19 to one worker.
- Peppermint UK Foods, trading as Subway, Brentwood, which BEIS said neglected to pay £107.20 to one worker.
The full list is available here.
Eat stops paying staff for breaks to offset cost of National Living Wage >>
Are you looking for a new role? See all the current hospitality vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>
Latest video from The Caterer