Company shamed for not paying living wage
NATIONAL clothing firm Edinburgh Woollen Mill of Langholm has been named and shamed for failing to pay workers the national minimum or living wage.
Peacock Stores Limited, owned by business tycoon Philip Day, failed to pay £2,256.58 to 42 workers.
But the company, which has stores all over the UK, admits no wrong-doing.
It said no employees were underpaid over the year and put it down to "preference" of its staff who would rather receive a monthly salary based on the average hours they worked instead of fluctuating monthly paychecks.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) named Peacocks among 360 employers in the country who underpaid 15,520 workers a total of £995,233.
Employers in retail, hairdressing and hospitality were the most prolific offenders.
A Government spokesman said Peacocks Stores, like every other offending employer, had incurred a fine. It is unclear where the 42 underpaid workers are based or the cost of the fine received by the company.
A spokesman for Peacocks Stores said: “Fundamentally, we do not underpay our staff. They tell us they prefer to receive a monthly salary based on the average hours they work rather than a fluctuating amount each month.
“This means their monthly pay is sometimes greater than the hours they have worked during that month and, on occasion, it is less. This is purely a timing issue based on the preferences of our employees and no one is underpaid over the year."
It is the first time the name and shame list has included 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.
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.
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.”
HMRC recovered arrears for some of the UK’s lowest paid workers and issued penalties worth about £800,000.