A SOMERSET firm that underpaid more than 100 of its workers has apologised after being named and shamed by the Government.

The wage packets of 106 of the lowest paid workers at world renowned shoe manufacturer Clarks were found to be below the minimum wage.

C & J Clark was among more than 200 companies listed this week by the Government for underpaying staff.

The 200-year-old Street-based company was accused of withholding a total of £4,811.38 from 106 of its employees.

A Clarks spokesperson described the shortfall as "a technical breach" and said those affected had since been reimbursed.

A Government spokesperson said that nationally 208 employers ranging from multinational businesses and large high street names to smaller companies and sole traders had failed to pay staff a total £1.2million in breach of the National Minimum Wage law, leaving around 12,000 workers out of pocket.

The rogue businesses have since had to pay back what they owe to staff and also face significant financial penalties of up to 200 per cent of what was owed, which are paid to the government.

Referring to the HM Revenue and Customs investigation carried out between 2014 and 2019, Minister for Labour Markets Paul Scully said: "We want workers to know that we’re on their side and they must be treated fairly by their employers, which is why paying the legal minimum wage should be non-negotiable for businesses.

"The 208 businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working employees, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.

"With Christmas fast approaching, it’s more important than ever that cash is not withheld from the pockets of workers. So don’t be a scrooge – pay your staff properly."

The Clarks spokesperson said: "Regrettably, in 2018, a minor error in the way our systems calculated take home pay resulted in a technical breach impacting a small number of former and current employees receiving take home pay less than their minimum wage entitlements.

"We acted quickly to remedy the situation to ensure these errors do not repeat themselves and have sent letters to those affected to apologise for the breach and have made a payment to them to make good their respective shortfalls."