Surrey businesses named for failing to pay employees minimum wage

Businesses in Surrey have been named by HMRC for failing to pay employees the minimum wage.

A total of 139 companies in the UK have been listed following investigations by revenue and customs officers.

Under law, every employee is entitled to the national minimum wage regardless of their age or profession.

Not all businesses intentionally failed to pay their staff minimum wage, but it still constitutes a breach of employment law.

One of the main breaches was low-paid employees being forced to cover work costs such as paying for uniform, training or parking fees. These costs eat into their already low wages.

Other employers failed to increase wages after a worker had a birthday that should have moved them into a different national minimum wage bracket.

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The businesses named were served a notice of underpayment between September 2016 and July 2018.

In total, the 139 businesses failed to pay £6.7 million to over 95,000 workers.

The Surrey businesses named are:

  • Nahid Residential Limited, trading as Manor House Hotel, Guildford GU1. They failed to pay £9,159.53 to five workers
  • Cygnet Health Care Limited, which has its headquarters in Tonbridge and Malling TN15 but which runs run Tupwood Gate nursing home in Caterham, failed to pay £1,249.55 to 15 workers.

Employers who fail to pay their staff the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates. All businesses named have paid back their workers, and also paid financial penalties.

Business Minister Paul Scully said not paying minimum wage is not acceptable from businesses.

Mr Scully said: “Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it is the law. It is never acceptable for any employer to short-change their workers. This should serve as a wake-up call to named employers and a reminder to everyone of the importance of paying workers what they are legally entitled to.

“Make no mistake, those who fail to follow minimum wage rules will be caught out and made to pay up.”

Bryan Sanderson, chair of the Low Pay Commission, said the companies named should be ashamed.

Mr Sanderson said: “There can be no excuses for non-compliance with the minimum wage rates. The annual changes are well publicised six months in advance following a well understood process.

“Those affected are among the most needy and vulnerable in our country – the companies concerned should be deeply ashamed of their performance.”

Last month, the Government announced a measured increase in national living wage and national minimum wage rates, which will come into effect from April 2021.