Friday, 22 March, 2019

Wagamama and Marriott named and shamed for paying below minimum wage

Staff at TGI Fridays are among those to have been shortchanged Wagamama and Marriott named and shamed for paying below minimum wage
Patty Aguilar | 09 March, 2018, 21:16

Other sports clubs, including Stoke City and Birmingham City football clubs and London Irish rugby union club, were also named on the list.

Government figures show that the chain underpaid 2,630 workers by a total of £133,212 and 42p a year ago, with the workers now in line for a nice chunk of back pay.

TGI Fridays, which recently faced criticism over a proposal to redistribute card tips from waiters to kitchen staff in lieu of a wage increase, repaid £59,348 to 2,302 workers in relation to asking them to purchase black shoes as part of a uniform.

Global group Marriott Hotels also made the list, and had to repay £71,722.93 to 279 workers.

BEIS said since 2013 the scheme has identified around 12.5 million US dollars in back pay for around 67,000 workers, with more than 1,700 employers fined a total of 8.7 million USA dollars.

Failing to pay workers for travelling between jobs, not paying overtime and deducting money for uniforms were some of the reasons for the underpayments.

The underpayment by Wagamama, TGI Fridays and Karen Millen was related to uniform cots.

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage must pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates and also faces financial penalties of up to 200pc of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker.

Wagamama, the noodle chain which was the worst offender, underpaid 2,630 of its staff by £167,000.

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As well as recovering backpay for the workers, the government also fined the employers a total of £1.3 million in penalties for breaking national minimum wage laws.

A spokesman said the error arose from a misunderstanding of how the minimum wage regulations apply to staff uniforms.

The minimum wage ranges from £7.50 an hour for over 25s to £4.05 an hour for under-18s and £3.50 for apprentices.

"The Club has reviewed its payroll systems to ensure that the strict requirements for calculating compliance with the national minimum wage regulations are observed". We have also updated our uniform policy and we now pay a uniform supplement to cover the black jeans.

He added: "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 can not happen again".

It said that would make it easier for 300,000 workers to check that they were being paid the legal minimum.

'The total figure quoted in today's HMRC list relates to reimbursing team members a shoe allowance.

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