Employment law

Debenhams becomes latest big retailer to be named and shamed

Hunter Ruthven | 15 February 2017 | 7 years ago

Debenhams named and shamed
Staff at Debenhams were not paid what was owed to them
High street retail brand Debenhams has joined the likes of French Connection, H&M and Foot Locker in being named and shamed by the government for underpaying staff.

In a move which began in October 2013, employers large and small around the UK have had underpayment sanctions taken to a new level through being named and shamed.

The latest crop of companies to be exposed, this time totalling more than 350, have underpaid 15, 520 workers a total of nearly 1m. According to the government, businesses in the hairdressing, hospitality and retail sectors are the most prolific offenders.

Business minister Margot James said businesses named and shamed will have been sent a clear message that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished.

every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the National Minimum or Living Wage, and this government will ensure they get it, she added.

The Denenhams offences included failing to pay 134, 894 to 11, 858 workers, equating to an average of 11.38 per person. While the retail chain’s payments owed to each member of staff were comparatively small, Hull-based Drivecheck failed to pay an average of 4, 060 to sixemployees.

Dental clinic Tasman, located in London, owes 11, 799 to a solitary worker, while Glover’s Bakery in Preston underpaid a total of 11, 799 to two members of staff.

Find out the difference between the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

Alongside being named and shamed, the government also revealed the excuses businesses came up with for not paying the right salaries. These included using tips to top up pay, docking wages to pay for a Christmas party and making it a requirement for staff to pay for their own uniforms out of salaries.

This is the first time the naming list includes companies that failed to pay eligible workers at least the new National Living Wage rate. For workers aged 25 and over, this currently stands at 7.20.

HMRC, which recovered arrears for underpaid workers, has issued penalties of 800, 000.

Top ten named and shamed employers by amount owed:

  • Debenhams failed to pay 134, 894.83 to 11, 858 workers
  • Pembrokeshire Care failed to pay 55, 056.75 to 154 workers
  • Osteria San Lorenzo failed to pay 53, 496.57 to 29 workers
  • Tag Hotel failed to pay 32, 094.17 to 37 workers
  • WH Recruitment failed to pay 26, 418.67 to 143 workers
  • Drivecheck failed to pay 24, 363.36 to 6 workers
  • Nutwood Cottage Day Nursery, failed to pay 22, 082.16 to 11 workers
  • Tiny Turners Nurseries failed to pay 20, 740.90 to 54 workers
  • Community Integrated Care failed to pay 19, 774.78 to 69 workers
  • Fallowfield Country House Hotel failed to pay 19, 436.88 to 6 workers.

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