WHSmith amongst major retailers who failed to pay minimum wage

21st June 2023 | Jack Oliver

WHSmith, Marks & Spencer, and Argos are amongst over 200 companies which have been named and shamed by the Department for Business and Trade for not paying their employees the minimum wage.

A total of 202 named employers were found to have failed to pay a cumulative £5m in wages, leaving some 63,000 workers short-changed.

WHSmith was the biggest offender, owing arrears of over £1m. In second place was Lloyds Pharmacy, which owed some £903,307 to employees. The were followed by Marks & Spencer and Argos, which owed £578,391 and £480,094 respectively.

The list of 202 employers also includes smaller companies and small traders.

All businesses in the list have since paid back what they owed to staff and have faced financial penalties.

Of the employers named, it was found that:

  • 39% of employers had deducted pay from their workers’ wages.
  • 39% of employers had failed to pay workers correctly for their hours.
  • 21% of employers failed to pay the correct apprenticeship rate.

Minister for enterprise, markets and small business Kevin Hollinrake said: “Paying the legal minimum wage is non-negotiable and all businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working staff.

“Most businesses do the right thing and look after their employees, but we’re sending a clear message to the minority who ignore the law: pay your staff properly or you’ll face the consequences.”

The release of the list on Wednesday morning follows on from April’s raising of the national living and minimum wages by 9.7%.


Looking for more retail news? you might find these interesting