Sports Direct and Primark are among the high street businesses named by the Government as having failed to pay all their employees the minimum wage.
A number of Yorkshire firms are also being told to make back payments to affected staff after investigators identified a total of £1.7m in underpayments to 16,000 workers – more than in any previous year.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy named 260 employers who it said had failed in some instances to pay National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates. They face fines totalling £1.3m.
Retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were among the most prolific offenders, with common excuses including deducting pay for uniforms and not paying for overtime.
The Calderdale-based Transline Group, which advertises “consistent management of temporary workforces”, was the second biggest offender on the Government list, for underpaying 1,421 workers by £310,000.
Primark was criticised for failing to pay £231,000 to 9,735 workers, and Sports Direct for owing £167,000 to 383 workers. Sports Direct faced criticism from unions and investors last month over a proposed payout to the brother of Mike Ashley, its founder and majority shareholder.
The company told the Stock Exchange it wanted to pay John Ashley £11m because he had been underpaid for previous work.
The Yorkshire firms on the Government’s list included Willerby Manor Hotels in the East Riding, which failed to pay £10,000 to 37 workers.
The Business Minister, Margot James, said there was “no excuse” for not paying staff the wages to which they were entitled.
“The government will come down hard on businesses that break the rules,” she said.
“To ensure there are consequences for their wallets as well as their reputation, we’ve levied millions in back pay and fines.”
Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the Low Pay Commission, added: “The risk of being named is encouraging businesses to focus on compliance.
“It is imperative that the Government keeps up the pressure on all employers who commit breaches of minimum wage law.”