The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has named 260 employers for failing to pay 16,000 workers at least minimum wage rates.
Government investigators identified £1.7 million in back pay for some of the UK’s lowest paid workers and fined employers £1.3 million for underpayment.
They include retail giants like Sports Direct and Primark and a number of North Wales businesses.
Common reasons for errors made include: failing to pay workers travelling between jobs, deducting money from pay for uniforms and not paying for overtime.
Primark was listed as the third-biggest offender after it deducted shop worker’s uniforms from their salaries. It has now repaid staff.
Business Minister Margot James said: “There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to and the government will come down hard on businesses that break the rules.
“That’s why today we are naming hundreds of employers who have been short changing their workers; and to ensure there are consequences for their wallets as well as their reputation, we’ve levied millions in back pay and fines.”
Bryan Sanderson, Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, said: “The Low Pay Commission’s conversations with employers suggest that the risk of being named is encouraging businesses to focus on compliance.
“Further, it is good to see that HMRC continues to target large employers who have underpaid a large number of workers, as well as cases involving only a few workers, where workers are at risk of the most serious exploitation. It is imperative that the government keeps up the pressure on all employers who commit breaches of minimum wage law.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “These figures show it pays to be a member of Unite and underlines the importance of campaigning trade unions who tackle abusive employers.”
The firms named by the Government include:
■ Primark Stores Limited, Reading RG1, failed to pay £231,973.12 to 9735 workers.
■ SportsDirect.com Retail Limited, Bolsover NG20, failed to pay £167,036.24 to 383 workers.
■ Mr Martin Brindley Station Cars, Wrexham LL11, failed to pay £5,303.74 to 1 worker.
■ Rothwell & Robertson Limited trading as Ye Olde Bull’s Head Inn, Isle of Anglesey LL58, failed to pay £627.53 to 1 worker.
■ Men At Work (Wales) Limited, Conwy LL31, failed to pay £310.8 to 1 worker.
■ Vale Holiday Parks Limited, Ceredigion SY23, failed to pay £213.38 to 2 workers.