The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has ‘named and shamed’ 37 firms for failing to pay staff the minimum wage, including retailer H&M and service station operator Welcome Break.

H&M blamed the underpayment of staff on logging errors, while Welcome Break attributed its non-compliance to a new IT system.

HM Revenue and Customs fined the businesses concerned £1,400 each and ordered them to reimburse all employees who were underpaid.

The minimum wage for adults aged 21 and over is £6.50 per hour.

Iain Birrell, employment rights manager at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Businesses are undermining the hard work their staff put in by failing to pay them what should be the absolute minimum wage in the UK.

“A fine of £1,400 is quite frankly pocket money for retail giants like H&M, whose profits exceeded £600m in the last quarter of 2014 alone.”

A campaign for the introduction of a Workplace Pledge, supported by Thompsons Solicitors’ chief executive Stephen Cavalier, is seeking to ensure that employers guarantee fair, clear rights which are fully understood by every employee. These rights include workers’ rates of pay, in addition to health and safety, working hours and legal rights.

Mr Birrell added: “Under the current government, workers’ rights are continually eroded, with job insecurity and lack of legal protection rife.

“The government needs to come down much harder on businesses who fail to pay the minimum wage. Small fines like this run the risk of being seen as simply a cost of doing business. It’s something we’ve seen in the mess that is banking regulation and we have to make sure others don’t see flouting the law as an option with little real come back.”