// House of Fraser, Schuh and Waterstones have broken minimum wage laws
// The retailers are among more than 200 employers named by the Government
House of Fraser, Schuh and Waterstones are some of the leading businesses to have been named for breaking minimum wage laws when paying staff.
According to the Government, the retailers were revealed to be among more than 200 employers that broke national minimum wage laws, leaving about 12,000 workers out of pocket at a cost of around £1.2 million.
House of Fraser failed to pay over £16,000 to 354 workers, Schuh failed to pay £807 to 39 staff and Waterstones failed to pay nearly £8,700 to 58 staff.
The current owner of House of Fraser, Frasers Group, said in a statement that the claims date back to before it bought the retailer in 2018.
“In short, these breaches are historic and relate to the activities of the old House of Fraser company that is now in administration and is nothing at all to do with any activities of the new House of Fraser business that is owned by Frasers Group.”
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The most common issue among the companies named was that they deducted money from staff’s wages to pay for expenses such as work uniforms. About 37% of businesses underpaid their staff in this way.
Other common issues included not paying for mandatory training, trial shifts or travel time (29%) underpaying apprentices (16%) and not upping wages when the minimum wage was raised or younger workers were due an increase (11%).
“We want workers to know that we’re on their side and they must be treated fairly by their employers, which is why paying the legal minimum wage should be non-negotiable for businesses,” said Minister for Labour Markets Paul Scully.
“Today’s 208 businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working employees, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.
“With Christmas fast approaching, it’s more important than ever that cash is not withheld from the pockets of workers. So don’t be a scrooge – pay your staff properly.”
Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady added: “Every worker deserves fair pay for their work.
“There’s no excuse for not paying the minimum wage. Firms who cheat staff out of their hard-earned money deserve to be named and shamed.
“We also need to see prosecutions and higher fines for the most serious offenders, especially those who deliberately flout the law. Minimum wage underpayment is still far too common in Britain.”