Debenhams tops Government list for underpaid staff


16 Feb, 2017

Debenhams tops Government list for underpaid staff

The Government has named and shamed hundreds of retailers and other businesses across the UK for underpaying their staff, with the list of offenders topped by Debenhams.

The British department store was found to have underpaid almost £135,000 to just under 12,000 workers. The company blamed a technical glitch in its payroll calculations as the cause of the underpayment. They said that this resulted in an average down payment of around £10 per person to affected workers in 2015.

However, Debenhams was just one of the 360 businesses named in what was the biggest ever such list compiled by the Government. In total, employers underpaid thousands of workers around £995,000. Excuses for underpayments ranged from docking wages to pay for Christmas parties, using tips to top up pay and making staff pay for their own uniforms.

The businesses found guilty varied from hair salons, hotels, care homes and retailers. The report was carried out by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Since its investigations started in 2013, hundreds of employers across the UK have been found guilty of underpaying a large amount of their workers. The latest announcement has brought that figure of guilty employers to more than 1,000.

BEIS said that its investigations and strategy for ousting out guilty parties had seen more than 15,000 workers receive back pay, whilst firms have also been penalised a combined total of £800,000 by HM Revenue and Customs.

Business minister Margot James said: "Every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the national minimum or living wage and this government will ensure they get it".

Meanwhile, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This should be a wake-up call for employers who value their reputation.

"If you cheat your staff out of the minimum wage you will be named and shamed.

"But we also need to see prosecutions and higher fines for the most serious offenders, especially those who deliberately flout the law".

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