Minimum wage cheats forced to pay out £2m – but did any of it go to interns? We’ll never know

Did any of the payouts go to interns?92 ROGUE EMPLOYERS CAUGHT – BUT DETAILS REMAIN A MYSTERY

The government has named 92 employers who have failed to pay the minimum wage – but it is not known whether any of the £1,873,712 awarded in back pay has gone to interns.

The payouts were made by employers in a range of sectors, including hairdressing, social care, hospitality and security services. Household names who have failed to pay what they should have include Costa Coffee (£212.88), Premier Inn (£859.20) and Subway (£102.96). Business Minister Nick Boles said:

“As a one nation government on the side of working people we are determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage receives it. There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to.

“Our policy of naming and shaming employers who ignore the law means there are consequences for their reputation as well as their wallets.

“In April we will introduce a new National Living Wage which will mean a pay rise of over £900-a-year for someone working full time on the minimum wage and we will enforce this equally robustly.”

However, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said she feared too many cheats are still going unpunished:

“Ministers are right to name and shame these companies. Today’s list contains many well-known household names and the level of underpayment in some cases is truly eye-watering.

“Now is not the time for complacency, however. We know that thousands more rogue employers are cheating their staff and getting away with it. It is essential that HMRC catches up with them too.

“Bosses who try to duck the minimum wage must have nowhere to hide. Strong unions are needed in every workplace to stop these abuses from happening.”

Graduate Fog welcomes the publication of this list – but we know that that these 92 employers are just the tip of the iceberg. It remains exasperating that the reporting system relies on former interns coming forward to complain about their employer – something they are usually reluctant to do, for obvious reasons. And we remain deeply concerned by reports that interns are being fobbed off by poorly trained advisers staffing the helpline that is supposed to be there to protect them.

We are also frustrated that there is so little transparency on the detail of these cases. Our sources at the TUC have indicated that the bulk of the back-payments listed will be claims by workers who were expected to pay for their uniforms out of their own money, or not paid for the time it takes to shut up the premises where they work.

How many were badged as internships? Unfortunately, we may never know.

* IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING ENOUGH TO CRACK DOWN ON EMPLOYERS WHO PAY THEIR INTERNS LESS THAN THE MINIMUM WAGE?
If not, what changes would you like to see? If you’ve worked for less than the minimum wage, did you consider reporting your employer? What happened? Share your views and experiences below!

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