The government has named and shamed 13 hospitality business as part of a list of over 100 employers that it said failed to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage.
Business Minister Nick Boles today revealed the names of 115 firms who between them were more than £389,000 in arrears, according to figures from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
However, several of the hotel and restaurant businesses named defended their employment practices, with several of them putting the non-payment down to administrative oversights.
The hospitality businesses named on the list included:
- Spirit Pub Company (Services) Ltd, Burton on Trent, which BIS said neglected to pay £4,629.14 to one worker. Responding to the news, a spokesperson for Spirit said: "We are committed to delivering the best for our teams and rewarding our people for their work and dedication to the business. Unfortunately, it was brought to our attention that an employee was paid below the national minimum wage because of an administrative error. We addressed this issue as soon as we became aware and have investigated fully to make sure that all colleagues are paid what they are entitled to.
- Greenwoods Hotel Management Ltd, trading as Greenwoods Hotel and Spa, Stock, which BIS said neglected to pay £3,545.18 to two workers. No-one from Greenwoods Hotel Management was available for comment.
- Subway Universal Ltd, trading asSubway, (Morden, Barbican, Richmond, Twickenham), London, which BIS said neglected to pay £2,466.77 to 10 workers. A spokesperson for Subway commented: "Subway stores are independently owned and operated by franchisees who set the wages that are paid to their staff. Subway stores are required to observe all aspects of employment law including the payment of the minimum wage, and often pay in excess of this. We are conducting a review to better understand the Business Minister's concerns. We are grateful to the Business Minister for highlighting this issue which will be addressed with immediate effect."
- SCC Leisure Ltd, trading as Bar Soba, Glasgow, which BIS said neglected to pay £2,015.82 to one worker. Bar Soba managing director Brad Stevens told The Caterer: "We generally pay over minimum wage. We did have a young employee who worked in the kitchen and they are salaried in the kitchen it is not hourly pay. Generally some weeks they will work over their hours and some weeks they work under. When this person left the equilibrium hadn't been there at that time so she questioned it and we paid it."
- Mr Bernard Camish, Mrs Carol Camish, Mr James Coles & Mrs Ria Coles, trading as the Poplars, Trowbridge, which BIS said neglected to pay £1,748.31 to one worker. Carol Camish said: "The situation has been resolved and we do not wish to make any further comment."
- Carole Eustace & Mark Eustace, trading as Westfield Court hotel, Sutton Coldfield, which BIS said neglected to pay £1,510.78 to one worker. Carole Eustace said: "We have several longstanding employees at Westfield Court hotel and pride ourselves on treating them all well. This was an isolated case and we are unable to comment on the circumstances further."
- Ellenborough Park Ltd, trading as Ellenborough Park hotel, Cheltenham, which BIS said neglected to pay £1,084.01 to one worker. A spokesperson for Ellenborough Park said: "We have taken the recent complaint raised by a former employee seriously and acknowledge that due to an isolated transactional error and the timing of the overtime payment, this individual's salary fell below the NMW on one occasion. As soon as the issue was raised, the mistake was rectified immediately, the matter is now closed and scrutiny has increased."
- Strathmore Hotels Ltd, trading as Royal hotel, Argyll, and Salutation hotel, Perth, which BIS said neglected to pay £609.97 to two workers. In a statement, the directors of Strathmore Hotels said: "We employ over 500 people throughout the Strathmore Hotels group full time, part time, and seasonal. This matter related to an administrative oversight with only two of our employees' birth dates and furthermore these under payments related to very short term pay periods only Royal hotel employee was five weeks, Salutation hotel employee was only eight hours. The total amount underpaid was small and all parties (the employees concerned and HMRC) were reimbursed in full as soon as the oversight was noticed and brought to our attention."
- The Square Bar & Restaurant Ltd(former owners), Harrogate, which BIS said neglected to pay £437.02 to one worker. The restaurant is now under new ownership and expected to relaunch on 10 November.
- The Court hotel (Bromley) Ltd, Bromley, which BIS said neglected to pay £230.67 to three workers. A spokesperson from the hotel said: "The error was not to do with Court hotel Bromley not paying staff the minimum wage; it was an administrative error with deductions for staff accommodation which amounted to five staff being refunded £230 in total between them. We provide staff accommodation cheaply and pay above the minimum wage. The administrative error concerned five staff members over five years. An audit was carried out by officials, and we were advised the error would come under the umbrella of the National Minimum Wage. We have paid the staff members the amount they were owed."
- Pilning Kings Arms Ltd (previous owners), trading as the Kings Arms, Bristol, which BIS said neglected to pay £143.72 to one worker.
- Huddleson Enterprises Ltd, trading as the Lock Keeper's Inn, Belfast, which BIS said neglected to pay £132.35 to seven workers. No-one was available to comment
- MLVH Ltd, trading as the Manor hotel, Christchurch, which BIS said neglected to pay £124.89 to one worker. The hotel declined to comment.
Business Minister Nick Boles said: "Employers that fail to pay the minimum wage hurt the living standards of the lowest paid and their families.
"As a one nation government on the side of working people we are determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage receives it.
"Next April we will introduce a new National Living Wage which will mean a £900-a-year pay rise for someone working full time on the minimum wage and we will enforce this equally robustly."
On 1 October 2015, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rose to £6.70 for adults aged 21 and over. For 18 to 20-year-olds the rate is £5.30 per hour, while for 16 to 17-year-olds, the rate is £3.87 per hour. The apprentice rate is £3.30 per hour.
Danny Meyer abolishes tipping in US restaurants >>
Union publishes novel to highlight ‘exploitation' of hotel workers >>
Polpo, Draft House and Masala Zone are latest to face service charge criticism >>
Viewpoint: You don't need to sacrifice your principles to do well >>