Debenhams outed for not paying nearly 12,000 workers the national minimum wage

Helen Cahill
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The retailer said the problem was caused by an accounting error (Source: Getty)

Department store Debenhams has been outed for not paying its workers the national minimum and living wage.

According to the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS), Debenhams underpaid 11,858 workers by £134,895 in total.

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Debenhams said a payroll error has caused the problem and that it had affected store staff in various roles in 2015. Employees affected by the mistake were underpaid by an average of £10 each.

BEIS named and shamed more than 350 employers for not paying their staff the correct amount. Excuses for flouting pay regulation included docking wages to pay for the staff Christmas party and making staff pay for uniforms out of their own salary.

Businesses in hairdressing, hospitality and retail were the worst offenders, BEIS said.

A Debenhams spokesperson said: "As a responsible employer Debenhams is committed to the national minimum wage, and as soon as the error was identified by a routine HMRC audit last year, we reimbursed all those affected.

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"We have apologised to all our colleagues affected and have taken steps to ensure it cannot happen again."

“Every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the national minimum or living wage and this government will ensure they get it," said business minister Margot James.

“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.”

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