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UK Apparel Employers Fail to Pay Workers National Minimum Wage

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The U.K. government called out three apparel companies who have not paid their workers the national minimum wage: The Clothing Works Ltd., French Connection UK Ltd. and Sportsline Ltd., which operates Footlocker.

“The government is protecting workers by cracking down on employers who ignore minimum wage rules,” said Jo Swinson, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) Business Minister. “In addition to naming and shaming, we’ve increased the penalty fines and boosted the resources available to investigate non-compliance.”

According to the Minister, The Clothing Works Ltd. neglected to pay 17,007.08 pounds ($25,251) to 38 workers, Freedom Sportsline Ltd. neglected to pay 16,718.25 pounds ($24,823) to 601 workers, and French Connection UK Ltd owes 16,436.05 pounds ($24,404) to 367 workers.

A total of 210 employers across various industries including fashion, publishing, hospitality, health and fitness, automotive, care and retail, owe workers more than 635,000 pounds ($942,838), plus penalties totaling more than 248,000 pounds ($368,226).

To enforce minimum wage legislation, in January 2011 the BIS developed a plan to name and shame employers who do not abide by this law. According to the UK government, employers who neglect to pay workers not only have to pay them back but also face financial penalties of up to 20,000 pounds ($29,704). In very serious cases, they can be prosecuted.

In October 2013, the government revised this plan so that the government would be able to name all companies that have been issued with a Notice of Underpayment (NoU), unless they meet one of the exceptional criteria or have neglected payments of 100 pounds ($148) or less.

The current national minimum wage rate for workers age 21 and over is 6.5 pounds ($9.65).

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