Around 140 companies, including many of the UK’s biggest household names, have been “named and shamed” by the government for failing to pay their workers the minimum wage.
Among the businesses outed were Tesco, Pizza Hut and Superdrug, with the investigation taking place between 2016 and 2018.
These employers are legally obligated to pay staff arrears of their wages at current minimum wage rates and will face financial penalties of up to 200% of the arrears, capped at £10,000 per worker, if they fail to do so.
Tesco underpaid its workers by almost £5.1m, while Pizza Hut underpaid by over £845,000.
Business minister Paul 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, but it is especially disappointing to see huge household names who absolutely should know better on this list.
“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.”
He added: “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: “There can be no excuses for non-compliance with the minimum wage rates. The annual changes are well publicised 6 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.”