A company based in Milton Keynes has been named as the worst in the COUNTRY for underpaying its workers the National Minimum or Living Wage.
Argos Limited, which has its headquarters on Avebury Boulevard, failed to pay a whopping £1.46million to 12,176 of its workers.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy today (August 16) published a list of 233 businesses that underpaid workers.
More than 13,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers will get around £2 million in back pay as part of the government’s scheme to name employers who have failed to pay National Minimum Wage and Living Wage.
As well as paying back staff the money owed, employers on the list have been fined a record £1.9 million by the government. Retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were among the most prolific offenders.
Not only was Argos top of the list, it owed staggering amounts of money compared to the rest of the list. In comparison to the £1.46million owed by Argos, the second worst offending company in the country - Pearson Anderson Limited, based in Leicester - failed to pay £49,800 to 169 workers.
Business Minister Margot James said: "It is against the law to pay workers less than legal minimum wage rates, short-changing ordinary working people and undercutting honest employers.
"Today’s naming round identifies a record £2 million of back pay for workers and sends the clear message to employers that the government will come down hard on those who break the law."
Common errors made by employers in this round included deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, failure to account for overtime hours, and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers.
Melissa Tatton, a director at HM Revenue and Customs, said: "HMRC is committed to getting money back into the pockets of underpaid workers, and continues to crack down on employers who ignore the law.
"Those not paying workers the National Minimum or Living Wage can expect to face the consequences."
Sainsbury's, which purchased Argos last year, said that the issued date back to the previous owners, and related to the timing of briefings and security searches, which it says now happens between the times that workers clock in and out.
Argos CEO 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.”