Sports Direct and Primark named and shamed for underpaying staff

Sports Direct and Primark named and shamed for underpaying staff

The retailer has since apologised to affected staff and paid them back.

Sports Direct and Primark have been named and shamed by the Government for failing to pay the minimum wage after identifying 260 companies that had to refund £1.7m to thousands of workers.

'It is imperative that the Government keeps up the pressure on all employers who commit breaches of minimum wage law'.

HMRC identified 16,000 workers who were owed a total of £1.7m in back pay.

Common reasons for errors made included failing to pay workers travelling between jobs, deducting money from pay for uniforms and not paying for overtime.

A Sports Direct spokesman said: "This matter relates to the historical situation in our warehouse that was widely publicised in 2016, for which we apologised at the time".

The list revealed that Best Connection has repaid £469,273 to 2,558 workers; Qualitycourse, trading as Transline, has repaid £310,302 to 1,421 workers; and Sports Direct has repaid £167,036.24 to 383 workers - amounting to £946,611 in total.

Business minister Margot James said there was no excuse for not paying staff the wages they're entitled to, and that the government would come down hard on companies that break the rules. "It has also reviewed its procedures in order to avoid this situation re-occurring".

The most prolific sectors for underpayment were retail, hospitality and hairdressing, while two of the best known offenders were Primark, an arm of Associated British Foods that failed to pay a total of nearly £232,000 to 9,735 workers, and Sports Direct, which along with its employment agencies underpaid underpaid 4,362 staff by a total of £0.95m.

Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the Low Pay Commission, said: 'The commission's conversations with employers suggest that the risk of being named is encouraging businesses to focus on compliance.

He also added that although targeting large employers who have cheated a great number of workers is fundamental, he is happy to see that HM Revenue and Customs still targets cases where few workers have been involved and those who are at risk of the most serious exploitation.

"That's why today we are naming hundreds of employers who have been short changing their workers; and to ensure there are consequences for their wallets as well as their reputation, we've levied millions in back pay and fines", James said.