Monsoon Accessorize tops minimum wage offenders list

Hairdressers and retailers also feature

UK employers failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage have been named and shamed in a new list released by the Government.

Monsoon Accesorize topped the list after failing to pay £104,508 to its 1,428 workers. Employees were previously required to wear Monsoon clothing as a uniform. The items were available at a discount but as they were compulsory and paid for directly out of employees’ wages, the policy meant that staff were taking home less than the minimum wage.

In a statement, the company said: “Monsoon Accessorize has recently been working with HMRC in a wide-ranging review of its payroll practices in relation to the National Minimum Wage. This review has has revealed an historic, unintentional breach of the regulations in respect of its staff discount policies for Monsoon clothing. Monsoon is pleased that this issue has been identified and has already taken prompt action to remedy it.”

A total of 115 companies were included on the list for failing to pay staff a total of more than £389,000 in wages. Companies included covered a variety of sectors, but retail and hairdressing companies featured heavily in the list.

HM Revenue and Customs is introducing a new scheme to drive voluntary behavioural change within the hairdressing industry. Employers will be able to check that they are paying their employees correctly and pay any outstanding arrears to employees.

Business Minister Nick Boles commented: “Employers that fail to pay the minimum wage hurt the living standards of the lowest paid and their families.”

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, added: “I am particularly saddened to see Monsoon Accessorize acting in breach of the law. A large firm with thousands of employees has no excuse for not having proper systems in place to ensure staff get their legal wages.”

The UK National Minimum Wage rose to £6.70 an hour on 1 October, although there are some variations depending on the employee’s circumstances.

The UK’s naming and shaming scheme was revised in October 2013. Those named on this year’s list have already repaid the wages to their staff and will be fined by HMRC once the investigations have been completed.