minimum wage increase

Shopkeepers have been named and shamed by the Government for failing to pay staff the minimum wage.

Nearly one in three retail businesses listed in the latest release were newsagents or convenience stores. This represents no significant improvement from previous lists released by the Government last year.

The newsagents and convenience stores shamed were SB Patel Ltd in Merthyr Tydfil (owed staff £4,454), Nath Stores Limited in Stockton-on-Tees (owed staff £1,824), VF Cash & Carry Limited in Newham (owed staff £668), Plaistow Broadway Filling Stations Limited in Basildon (owed staff £536) and one other newsagent.

Speaking to Retail Express, a newsagent previously listed for failing to pay the minimum wage alleged that wages were withheld from one staff member after they were fired for admitting benefit fraud relating to their work in the store.

“While shops near mine brazenly sell £4 packs of cigarettes, I’m named and shamed for stopping a staff member from defrauding the taxpayer,” the retailer said. 

Another retailer previously listed told Retail Express it had accidentally failed to adjust staff wages as they aged and passed from one age wage bracket to another.

Accounting errors are the most common reason given by companies who fall foul of the Government’s lists. Business minister Andrew Griffiths warned: “Today’s naming round serves as a sharp reminder to employers to get their house in order ahead of minimum wage rate rises on 1 April.”

From April onwards, staff will be entitled to the following:

·       £7.83 for workers over 25

·       £7.38 for workers aged 21-24

·       £5.90 for workers aged 18-20

·       £4.20 for workers under 18

·       £3.70 for apprentices

Griffiths added that shopkeepers who fail to pay these wages will be forced to pay any shortfall plus a fine of up to 200% of wages owed. Under recent changes, staff are also legally entitled to receive a copy of their pay slip listing the number of hours worked.