Pret among companies ‘named and shamed' on Government minimum wage list

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pret A Manger among companies ‘named and shamed' on Government minimum wage list

Related tags: National minimum wage, Pret a manger

Pret A Manger is one of almost 200 companies named by the Government for not paying workers the minimum wage.

The Pret underpayment affected 33 staff members who during 2019 opted to allocate some of their salary in exchange for childcare vouchers. 

In total the group failed to pay failed to pay £9,679.91.

A spokesperson from the company confirmed that Pret has since made all the required payments to these team members and HMRC.

“In this unique case from 2019, a small number of team members opted to allocate some of their salary in exchange for childcare vouchers, as part of a voluntary salary sacrifice scheme," the company said in a statement.

"Government rules dictate that these ‘deductions from pay’ reduce the National Minimum Wage eligible pay and therefore this inadvertently caused remuneration to fall below minimum levels. The Government has since changed the rules on voluntary salary sacrifice schemes and how they interact with the NMW underpayment list, in recognition of the benefits they can bring to employees.”

The Government has acknowledged that many of the breaches by companies were not deliberate, but added that laws around the minimum wage were meant to ensure that a fair day’s work received a fair day’s pay. 

In total, 191 have been ‘named and shamed’ on the list for collectively failing to pay £2.1m to more than 34,000 workers.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the breaches took place between 2011 and 2018, and that employers had since been made to pay back what they owed. Companies were fined an extra £3.2m, to show that 'is never acceptable to underpay workers'.

Business Minister Paul Scully said: "Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up short.

"All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly.

"This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly."

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates. They also face hefty financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears - capped at £20,000 per worker - which are paid to the Government. Since 2015, the Government has ordered employers to repay over £100m to one million workers.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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