The government’s ‘name and shame’ list highlights the need for greater pay transparency

Companies are starting to fear costs to their reputation if they don't pay the National Minimum Wage

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The government has today ‘named and shamed’ 92 employers who have failed to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Between them, these companies owe £1,873,712 in arrears. Among them are cafes, hairdressers, plumbing companies, social care and security services.

The naming and shaming scheme was revised in October 2013 to make it simpler to expose employers who do not comply with NMW rules. Since then 490 employers have been named and shamed, with total arrears of over £3,000,000 and total penalties of over £1,100,000.

Frances O’Grady of the TUC said:

“Ministers are right to name and shame these companies. Today’s list contains many well-known household names and the level of underpayment in some cases is truly eye-watering.

“Now is not the time for complacency, however. We know that thousands more rogue employers are cheating their staff and getting away with it. It is essential that HMRC catches up with them too.

“Bosses who try to duck the minimum wage must have nowhere to hide. Strong unions are needed in every workplace to stop these abuses from happening.”

While the ‘naming and shaming’ scheme has led more companies to pay the NMW, there is still a need for greater pay transparency in the UK, especially when it comes to addressing the gender pay gap.

Last summer the government introduced new measures requiring companies who employ more than 250 people to publish the details of their employees’ salaries.

But research has shown that the gender pay gap can actually be more pronounced in smaller companies, meaning this legislation may let some of the worst offenders off the hook.

The fact that more and more companies are signing up as Living Wage employers, fearing costs to their reputation when these kinds of lists are published,shows how greater transparency can help create jobs that are fair for everyone.

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