Argos among 233 businesses named and shamed over pay

Published: 1 September 2017

Category: News

Argos is one of more than 200 businesses to be named and shamed by HMRC for failing to pay employees the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage.

The retail giant, which was taken over by Sainsbury’s last year, failed to pay a total of £1.4m to 12,176 of its workers. It was ordered to repay the arrears. It was also fined £1.5m but that was reduced to £800,000 after it agreed to pay within 14 days.

The CEO of Argos, John Rogers, said: “Shortly after we [Sainsbury’s] acquired the Argos business last year it was brought to my attention that, as part of a routine visit, HMRC had uncovered an issue with some Argos store systems and processes, which meant that some colleagues had been paid below the national living wage.

“Sainsbury’s prides itself on being a trusted brand where people love to work and I was, therefore, very disappointed to hear this and launched an immediate investigation.

“I am pleased to say the issue was resolved quickly and processes have been updated to ensure this cannot happen again.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a list of 233 businesses that underpaid workers. Retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were among the most prolific offenders.

As well as paying back the money owed, employers on the list have been fined a record £1.9m.

Since 2013, the scheme has identified £6m back pay for 40,000 workers, with 1,200 employers fined £4m.

Common errors made by employers included deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, failure to account for overtime hours, and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers.

Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of Employment Law.