THE Government has named and shamed four Knutsford and Northwich businesses for failing to pay the minimum wage.

In total, 524 employers nationally were found to have failed to pay their workers nearly £16million in a clear breach of the national minimum wage law, leaving more than 172,000 workers out of pocket.

Employers being named include major high street brands, in what the Government says is a clear message that no employers are exempt from paying their workers the statutory minimum wage.

Fast food chain Greggs, airline easyJet, beauty company Estee Lauder, recruiter Staffline and pub group Mitchells and Butlers were among some of the major British companies that did not pay some staff the minimum wage.

The businesses named have since paid back what they owe to staff and have also faced financial penalties of up to 200 per cent of their underpayment, the Government says.

The investigations by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs concluded between 2015 and 2023.

The four Knutsford and Northwich firms are:

• Australasia Limited, Knutsford, WA16, failed to pay £26,661.69 to 441 workers.

• New World Trading Company (UK) Limited, Knutsford, WA16, failed to pay £6,152.96 to 435 workers.

• Dnata Catering UK Limited, Manchester Airport, M90, failed to pay £15,711.72 to 689 workers.

• MM Commercial Cleaning Ltd, Northwich, CW9, failed to pay £570.95 to 19 workers.

Kevin Hollinrake, Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business, said: “Employees deserve to get paid properly for the hard work they put in.

“While the majority of businesses already do the right thing and pay their staff what they are owed, this announcement sends a message to the minority who are not – that there are repercussions to undercutting hard work from their staff.

“While not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, the Government has been clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it, and that enforcement action will be taken against employers who do not pay their staff correctly.”

Independent commissioner at the Low Pay Commission, Patricia Rice, added: “Since its introduction nearly 25 years ago, the national minimum wage has played a vital role in protecting the earnings of the lowest-paid workers in the UK.

“At a time when the cost-of-living is rising, it is more important than ever that these workers receive the pay to which they are entitled.

“National minimum wage underpayment not only cheats workers of their rightful due, but it leaves compliant firms undercut by those who do not abide by the law.

“By naming the firms responsible for significant underpayment, we raise awareness of the nature and the scale of underpayment and encourage all employers to ensure that they fully comply with the law.”

This year’s increase of the national minimum wage will see 16 to 17-year-olds on it receive a rise of 21.2 per cent.

If workers suspect they are being underpaid, they can visit to find out more about what they can do.

Workers can also call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 or visit their website for free, impartial and confidential advice or complain to HMRC at Pay and work rights helpline and complaints.

A Government spokesman said: “We have been clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it, and that robust enforcement action will be taken against employers who do not pay their staff correctly.

“We are committed to educating employers and have released an educational bulletin to increase awareness of national minimum wage legislation and inform companies on how to make sure they are paying workers correctly.

“The Government is determined to ensure workers are paid for their hard work, having announced the largest increase in the national living wage in November’s autumn statement, which will take effect from April 1."

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