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Argos forced to pay back underpaid staff

Argos in-store concession 725 x 500

HMRC has issued Argos with a £1.5 million fine after it was discovered that it has failed to have paid 37,000 staff the legal minimum wage.

The fine will be reduced to £800,000 because Argos has agreed to make the payment within 14 days of the request having been issued.

Argos is also required to pay £2.4 million back to staff who were underpaid.

Argos has issued staff with a letter advising that they had been paid less than minimum wage as a result of being asked to attend meetings and go through security checks outside of their paid working hours.  

Underpayments are understood to average around £64 per member of staff over a three-year period, prior to its acquisition by Sainsbury's in September 2016.

The news comes shortly after the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy revealed a list of more than 350 employers who had not paid employees appropriately.

Text from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy publication follows:

More than 350 employers have been named and shamed as the government publishes the largest ever list of national minimum and living wage offenders.

  • More than 350 employers named for underpaying their workers the national minimum or living wage
  • More than 15,500 of the UK’s lowest paid workers receive back pay thanks to government investigations
  • Employers who failed to pay National Living Wage named and shamed for the first time

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy today (15 February 2016) named 359 businesses who underpaid 15,513 workers a total of £994,685, with employers in the hairdressing, hospitality and retail sectors the most prolific offenders.

As well as recovering arrears for some of the UK’s lowest paid workers, HMRC issued penalties worth around £800,000.

For the first time, the naming list includes employers who failed to pay eligible workers at least the new National Living Wage rate, which is currently £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over.

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.

"That is why we have named and shamed more than 350 employers who failed to pay the legal minimum, sending the clear message to employers that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished.

"Excuses for underpaying workers included using tips to top up pay, docking workers’ wages to pay for their Christmas party and making staff pay for their own uniforms out of their salary."

Source : Insight DIY and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

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17 February 2017

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