On Air Now
The Smooth Sanctuary With Paul Phear 6pm - 10pm
9 March 2018, 01:52
Restaurant chains Wagamama and TGI Fridays have been "named and shamed" by the Government for failing to pay workers the national minimum wage.
The high street companies, along with hotel giant Marriott, were among the 179 employers on a list published by the Business Department.
Also included were Premier League football club Stoke City and Championship side Birmingham City, as well as rugby clubs St Helens and London Irish.
Employers on the list were fined a total of £1.3m - with £1.1m in back pay identified for 9,200 workers.
Wagamama failed to pay £133,212 to 2,630 workers - the most of any of the companies named.
TGI Fridays, meanwhile, shortchanged 2,302 of its staff to the tune of £59,348.
The figures also reveal Marriott failed to pay £71,723 to 279 workers.
Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: "There are no excuses for shortchanging workers.
"This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught - not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200% of wages owed.
"Today's naming round serves as a sharp reminder to employers to get their house in order ahead of minimum wage rate rises on 1 April."
From the start of next month, the National Living Wage for people aged over 25 will go up from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour.
A TGI Fridays spokesman said it did pay the minimum wage hourly rate, and that the findings related to reimbursing workers a shoe allowance.
"This is a historic payment which was paid last year, and we have since reimbursed team members for the purchase of their black uniform shoes," the spokesman said.
A spokesman for Marriott said the company "is committed to compliance with the national minimum wage".
He added: "When an error was identified by a routine HMRC audit in 2015, we cooperated fully with HMRC and promptly reimbursed all those affected.
"We apologise to all our associates impacted by this error and have taken steps to ensure it cannot happen again."
Wagamama said it has always paid minimum wage and makes sure that staff receive 100% of their tips - saying there had been an "inadvertent misunderstanding" of the rules and it had acted immediately to correct this.
"In the past we didn't realise that asking our front of house staff to wear casual black jeans or skirts, with their Wagamama branded top, was considered as asking them to buy a form of uniform and so we should have paid them for it," the company said.
The Business Department said Stoke City failed to pay £1,102 to seven workers.
The club is owned by Denise Coates, the billionaire founder of betting firm Bet365, who paid herself more than £200m in 2016.
It said the issue arose due to its former practice of allowing staff to pay for tickets and merchandise bought from the club from their monthly salaries.
A Stoke City spokesman said: "Once this matter was brought to our attention we moved swiftly to repay the money to the members of staff concerned."
(c) Sky News 2018: Wagamama and TGI Fridays named among 'minimum wage dodgers'