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UK: H&M Among 37 Retailers Shamed for Paying Less than Minimum Wage

U.K. government Business Minister Jo Swinson is naming and shaming 37 employers that have failed to pay its workers the National Minimum Wage.

The companies involved owe workers a collective 177,000 pounds ($267,646) and have been charged with financial penalties amounting to over 51,000 pounds ($77,168). Since the naming regimen was assembled in Oct. 2013, 55 employers have already been exposed, totaling debts of 139,000 pounds ($210,185) and penalties of 60,000 pounds ($90,727).

Swinson said, “As well as being publicly named and shamed, employers that fail to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage face penalties of up to 20,000 pounds ($30,242). We are legislating through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill so that this penalty can be applied to each underpaid worker rather than per employer.”

HM Revenue Customs’ (HMRC) National Minimum Wage enforcement budget will be increased to 3 million pounds ($4.5 million) in the upcoming financial year, totaling to 12.2 million pounds ($18.4 million). The government said the extra money will be put toward increasing the number of HMRC compliance officers to pinpoint businesses that underpay workers.

Fashion retail giant H&M is among the many delinquent companies, neglecting to pay 2,604.87 pounds ($3,941.43) to 540 workers, according to the report.

The U.K.’s National Minimum Wage per hour is 6.50 pounds ($9.83) for adults 21 and older, 5.13 pounds ($7.76) for ages 18 to 20, 3.79 pounds ($573) for ages 16 to 17, and 2.73 ($4.13) pounds for an apprentice between ages 16 and 19 who are in their first year.

“Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable. If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action by naming, shaming and fining them as well as helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them,” Swinson explained.