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MatchesFashion.com fined for minimum wage mistake

MatchesFashion.com has been named for failing to pay two of its workers the minimum wage as part of a list of around 70 companies released by the government today.

The luxury independent mini chain has been fined £93 for neglecting to pay £375.61 to two of its 400 workers.

It comes just one day after the Low Pay Commission made its recommendation for raising the national minimum wage by 20p to £6.70.

In a statement to Drapers, MatchesFashion.com, which operates online and via four stores in London, said the error had been rectified prior to the publication of the list and before the fine was imposed by HMRC.

“Like many companies, we started conducting our own inspection early last year, collating information from across the company. We alerted both employees to the administrative error [they were unaware], repaid the amounts owing and voluntarily alerted HMRC.

“When informing HMRC we also sent proof of payment, along with all records necessary to enable them to verify our corrections. In September 2014 HMRC wrote to confirm that they had finished their checks and that these were the only two employees that had been underpaid and that they understood that this error had been rectified.”

It is the government’s second such list, bringing the total number of firms to 160 since the new naming regime came into force in October 2013. The first in January 2015 claimed H&M failed to pay £2,604.87 to 540 workers, which the fast fashion chain said was due to a problem with time logging.

Business minister Jo Swinson said paying less than the minimum wage is “illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.”

“Naming and shaming gives a clear warning to employers who ignore the rules, that they will face reputational consequences as well as financial penalties of up to £20,000 if they don’t pay the minimum wage,” she added.

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said the names released to date are just “the tip of the iceberg.”

Yesterday (February 23) the Low Pay Commission suggested an above-inflation hike in the minimum hourly rate for adults.

If adopted by the government to come into force in October 2015, it would represent a 3% climb, the biggest rise since 2008.

Alongside the adult increase, it has been recommended that the youth rate should increase by 3.3% to £5.30 an hour for 18 to 20-year-olds, by 2.2% to £3.87 for 16 to 17-year-olds and by 2.5% to £2.80 for apprentices.

@LukeToddUK

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