John Lewis in £900,000 minimum wage breach

John Lewis in £900,000 minimum wage breach: Shopping giant is among the High Street firms that have been ‘named and shamed’ for failing to pay workers in line with the rules

  • Business Department published a list of 191 companies with underpaid workers
  • List of breaches between 2011 and 2018 resulted in firms paying back £2.1m 
  • Ministers said making list public will ensure employers don’t do anything similar 

John Lewis, Pret A Manger and The Body Shop have been ‘named and shamed’ by the Government for failing to pay their staff the minimum wage.

The Business Department today publishes a list of 191 companies which have underpaid workers, including some household names.

In total, the list of breaches between 2011 and 2018 resulted in firms paying back £2.1million to more than 34,000 workers. They were also hit with fines of £3.2million.

Ministers said that making the list public will help ensure employers that ‘short-change workers won’t get off lightly’.

John Lewis, which also owns Waitrose, failed to pay £941,355 to more than 19,000 staff because of a policy of averaging pay to part-time workers to ‘help them budget’ 

John Lewis, which also owns Waitrose, failed to pay £941,355 to more than 19,000 staff because of a policy of averaging pay to part-time workers to ‘help them budget’.

Pret A Manger underpaid 33 of its staff by £9,679, while The Body Shop failed to pay £34,670 to just under 1,000 workers. Other firms listed included One Stop shops, McColl’s, Welcome Break service stations and Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Pontins.

Firms often inadvertently break the law by deducting money for uniforms or accommodation from staff, or failing to correctly pay workers for overtime.

Employers face penalties of up to 200 per cent of the amount owed – capped at £20,000 per worker – which are paid to the Government. 

 Pret A Manger underpaid 33 of its staff by £9,679, while The Body Shop failed to pay £34,670 to just under 1,000 workers

Business minister Paul Scully said: ‘Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay.’ However government agencies have been repeatedly criticised for failing to get to grips with minimum wage violations across the garment industry in Leicester.

Other industries represented in the list released today included social care, children’s nurseries, cleaners and hospitality.

John Lewis said it had fixed what it called a ‘technical breach’, adding: ‘The issue arose because the Partnership smooths pay so that partners with variable pay get the same amount each month.’

Pret said: ‘We have since made all the required payments to the team members.’

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