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Wrist slap for Monsoon over minimum wage error

Monsoon Accessorize has been ‘named and shamed’ by the government for failing to pay the minimum wage.

The retailer was found to have owed £104,508 to 1,438 workers - putting it at the top of a list of 115 companies published today.

Monsoon said the failure occurred between 2011 and 2013 because of its policy of offering staff discounts upwards of 50% on its clothing, which they are encouraged to wear to work.

For a proportion of its 5,000 UK store employees the discount was mistakenly deducted from their wages, bringing them below the minimum wage threshold.

The issue came to light when HM Revenue & Customs reviewed Monsoon’s payroll system.

The retailer has repaid the money owed and revised its policy to ensure this does not happen again.

It 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 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.”

The naming and shaming scheme was revised in October 2013 to make it easier to identify non-compliant employers.

Between them, the 115 companies named this time owed more than £389,000 in arrears, and spanned sectors including hairdressing, retail, education, catering and social care.

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

“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.”

The minimum wage rose to £6.70 per hour for workers aged 21 and over on October 1.

Next April the government will introduce a new national living wage of £7.20 for over 25s.

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