Three hospitality businesses – Wagamama, Marriott International and TGI Fridays – have topped the government’s latest ‘name and shame’ list for underpaying the minimum wage.
Nearly 180 employers were named on the list for underpaying more than 9,000 minimum wage workers by £1.1m. The hospitality sector was one of the worst offenders, with 43 employers named for underpaying 5,726 workers a total of £460,459.
As well as recovering backpay for 9,200 workers, the government also fined the employers featured on the list a total of £1.3m in penalties.
Wagamama was highlighted for not paying £133,212.42 to 2,630 workers, while Marriott International failed to pay £71,722.93 to 279 workers. Other firms included were TGI Fridays, which owed £59,347.64 to 2,302 workers, and Red Carnation’s Summer House Lodge, which failed to pay £6,168.48 to 24 workers.
Thomas Heier, people director at Wagamama said: “This was an inadvertent misunderstanding of how the minimum wage regulations apply to uniforms and as soon as we were made aware of this in 2016 we acted immediately to correct the position.
“In the past we didn’t realise that asking our front of house staff to wear casual black jeans or 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.
“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.”
A TGI Fridays spokesperson said: “The total figure quoted in today’s HMRC list relates to reimbursing team members a shoe allowance. This is a historic payment which was paid last year, and we have since reimbursed team members for the purchase of their black uniform shoes.”
Marriott said: “When an error was identified by a routine HMRC audit in 2015, we cooperated fully with HMRC and promptly reimbursed all those affected. We apologise to all our associates impacted by this error and have taken steps to ensure it cannot happen again.
“This relates to technical underpayments made in 2015 where some hotels made deductions from wages for live-in accommodation or late-night taxi services. Despite acting in good faith, and with full consent from associates, these deductions were not permissible by HMRC as they lowered the impacted associates salary below minimum wage.”
This 14th list comes after the government published its Good Work plan last month, which announced the right to a payslip for all workers, thought to benefit around 300,000 UK workers who do not currently get a payslip. It comes ahead of the next rate rise on 1 April, when the National Living Wage will go up from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour.
Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: “There are no excuses for short-changing workers. This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught – not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200% of wages owed. Today’s naming round serves as a sharp reminder to employers to get their house in order ahead of minimum wage rate rises on 1 April.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, highlighted the fact that there is “genuine confusion” among employers due to “ambiguous technical guidance” from government.
“Hospitality businesses are committed to complying with the law and paying staff what they are entitled to – many have acted already to redress the consequences of different interpretations of somewhat opaque guidance,” she said. “The errors that have occurred are due to ambiguous technical guidance that was applied in good faith by employers, for example, relating to costs of uniforms, but absolutely not because businesses are trying to short change the workers that are the lifeblood of their venues.
“Remedies are being put in place and UKHospitality is working closely with HMRC on sector-specific guidance to provide businesses with greater clarity on enforcement and compliance. We will ensure that this is clearly communicated throughout the sector. Deliberate breaches of minimum wage law are completely unacceptable, but there is genuine confusion among employers around a number of specific elements of the legislation.”
• Marriott Hotels Limited, Luton, failed to pay £71,722.93 to 279 workers
• Thursday (UK) Limited, trading as TGI Friday’s, Luton, failed to pay £59,347.64 to 2,302 workers
• Ms Sarah Jane Bowman and Ms Annabel Garland Farnell-Watson, trading as Hazelwood House, South Hams, failed to pay £48,288.66 to 3 workers
• 1st Pizza Direct Limited, Highland, failed to pay £25,668.15 to 87 workers
• Meejana Limited, trading as Meejana, Elmbridge, failed to pay £6,488.88 to 6 workers
• Lickfold Inn Limited, trading as The Lickfold Inn, Chichester, failed to pay £23,754.87 to 37 workers
• Mr Akbor Miah, trading as Dil Indian Cuisine, Monmouthshire, failed to pay £7,936.78 to 2 workers
• Atkins Hotels Limited, trading as The Yorke Arms (previous ownership), Harrogate, failed to pay £7,241.82 to 3 workers
• Summer Lodge Management Limited, trading as Summer Lodge Country House Hotel Restaurant & Spa, West Dorset, failed to pay £6,168.48 to 24 workers
• Cost Effective Catering Limited, City of Edinburgh EH4, failed to pay £4,559.11 to 23 workers
• Simonstone Ltd, trading as Simonstone Hall Hotel, Richmondshire, failed to pay £3,633.42 to 3 workers
• Thurlestone Estates Limited, trading as Thurlestone Hotel, South Hams, failed to pay £2,028.14 to 4 workers
• Manor House Hotel (Oakehampton) Limited, trading as The Manor House Hotel, West Devon, failed to pay £1,776.33 to 31 workers
• Ritcin Limited, trading as Starbucks, Belfast, failed to pay £1,592.79 to 79 workers
• Mrs Angela Fox, trading as Café Express, Stockton-on-Tees, failed to pay £870.21 to 1 worker
• RPP Wood Green Ltd, trading as Roosters Piri Piri, Haringey, failed to pay £779.39 to 3 workers
• Sanjay Foods (UK) Limited, Leicester, failed to pay £719.18 to 6 workers
• Cragwood International Limited, trading as Cragwood Country House Hotel & Restaurant, South Lakeland, failed to pay £467.78 to 3 workers
• Mr Shahzad Iqbal Kiyani, trading as Aprana Café, Birmingham, failed to pay £452.5 to 1 worker
• D K Leisure Ltd, trading as Bushtown Hotel, Causeway Coast and Glens, failed to pay £448.13 to 2 workers
• Saramago Ltd, trading as Saramago Café Bar, Glasgow City, failed to pay £425.63 to 4 workers
• Entier Limited, Aberdeenshire, failed to pay £403.07 to 1 worker
• Biddall Leisure Limited, trading as The Vine Hotel, East Lindsey, failed to pay £389.77 to 1 worker
• Mr Shakil Shah, trading as Town Fryer, St. Helens, failed to pay £347.31 to 3 workers
• Ari Pizza Ltd, trading as Marmaris Pizza, Ashfield, failed to pay £287.8 to 2 workers
• Grand Union Company Limited, Lambeth, failed to pay £271.28 to 6 workers
• Mr Ahmed Faalzada, trading as Pizza on Broadway, Kingston upon Thames, failed to pay £266.25 to 1 worker
• Ms Fiona Latham, trading as The Wellington Hotel, Halton, failed to pay £233.55 to 1 worker
• Tsang’s Kitchen Ltd, Wiltshire SN10, failed to pay £221.1 to 1 worker
• Mr Nicholas Tsaroullas, Mr John Yiamokis Tsaroullas and Mrs Kyriacou Tsaroullas , trading as Mentone Hotel, North Somerset, failed to pay £209.44 to 4 workers
• GAF Foods Limited, trading as Subway, Haringey, failed to pay £200.81 to 5 workers
• P&A Food Management Services Limited, Hambleton, failed to pay £186.39 to 11 workers
• Mr Tino Cernera, trading as Da Vinci, Dacorum, failed to pay £183.83 to 2 workers
• Mr Sean Hornby, trading as The Queens Hotel, Bury, failed to pay £129.45 to 1 worker
• Riverside Pizza Company Limited, trading as La Figa, Tower Hamlets, failed to pay £100.83 to 1 worker
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