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Naming and shaming – it’s not just about the big names

By Jonathan Simmons

The government has named and shamed Debenhams for underpaying its staff by £135,000.

An astonishing 11,858 department store workers were caught by what Debenhams said was a “technical error in its payroll calculations”.

Debenhams is one of 360 firms that made up the government’s shame roll of shame. Established in 2013, the list is designed to act as a deterrent to both large and small companies against paying their employees less than the legal minimum wage.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary for the TUC, said that “minimum wage dodgers must have nowhere to hide”. She added that “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.”

So Debenhams has been the headline grabber from the list but that seems harsh, especially considering that the amount of underpayment works out, on average, at £11.38 per employee.

Bear in mind the list also contains smaller companies who have deliberately cheated their employees out of thousands of pounds. Compared to that, a technical error by Debenhams’ payroll department is worlds apart.

There is of course an argument that a retailer the size of Debenhams should not be making mistakes like this. The company was handed a £63,000 fine for the breach, which some might see as getting off lightly.

But the big names on the list shouldn’t overshadow the smaller, more obscure companies that are also breaking the law.

Posted on 3rd March 2017 by Jerome Smail

 

 

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