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GovernmentHigh Street

Home Bargains ‘underpaid staff £272k’

Discount retailer TJ Morris Limited, trading as Home Bargains, has failed to pay the national minimum wage to its staff according to the UK government.

Home Bargains appeared second in a government list of nearly 240 employers who had not paid the National Living and Minimum Wage, with the retailer failing to pay £272,228.44 to 6,743 workers. The average arrears were £40.37 per worker.

The government’s report also listed the top five reasons for underpayments including deductions for uniform costs, underpaying apprentices, failing to pay travel time, misusing accommodation offset and using the wrong time periods for calculating pay.

Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker.

A spokesperson from T.J. Morris said: “Like many major retailers, we have fallen foul of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s interpretation of how the minimum wage rates are calculated. Our hourly rate of pay is above the minimum wage and any of our employees who were affected were reimbursed last year.”

Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Our priority is making sure workers know their rights and are getting the pay they worked hard for. Employers who don’t do the right thing face fines as well as being hit with the bill for backpay.

“The UK’s lowest paid workers have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the introduction of the National Living Wage and today’s list serves as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their workers’ pay right.”

Low Pay Commission chairman Bryan Sanderson said: “It is crucial that employers understand their responsibilities and workers know their rights around the minimum wage. That is why active enforcement and effective communication from government is so important.

“It is therefore encouraging to see that HMRC has recovered unpaid wages for the largest number of workers yet in this round of naming and shaming. I’m confident that the government will continue to pursue underpayment of the minimum wage vigorously.”

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