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Named and shamed for failing to pay minimum wage rates

Date published: 09 March 2018


Rochdale-based East Lancashire Services  and Dr Baber Ghafoor and Dr S A Abbasi have been ‘named and shamed’ for failing to pay staff the minimum wage.

Asked to comment, East Lancashire Services managing director Kevin Burke said: “During a recent HMRC audit it was highlighted to us that we were inadvertently paying a very small percentage of our staff below the government limits of the National Living Wage as a result of deducting a £1.00 administration fee for the preparation and administration of Council Tax Attachment of Earnings Orders (CTAEO) for certain employees.

“This deduction was made in line with guidance from CTAEO which states very clearly that you may charge the employee £1.00 for each deduction you make to cover your administration costs.

“This has been an historical and automatic process on all CTAEO deductions and at no point have we ever had any correspondence or guidance from HMRC notifying us that the administration charge cannot be levied if the individual concerned is earning the equivalent of the National Living Wage. 

“Over the three-year period that this HMRC audit covered, we have paid out wages of approximately 5.2 million pounds. The HMRC noted that during this period we had, as a result of an administration process, underpaid 28 individuals totalling £539.49.  As a percentage of total wages paid over the three-year period, this equates to 0.01%.

“East Lancashire Services Ltd prides itself on being an employer of integrity, with an unblemished trading history. We have had many audits over our 42 years of business, and never at any point has anything been suggested otherwise.  Every audit which has been conducted has resulted in a total clean bill of health.

“All the employees concerned have been reimbursed in full, and our administrative processes now amended in view of this. There has been no deliberate attempt to underpay any of our employees, as this has been a genuine clerical miscalculation.”

Dr Baber Ghafoor and Dr S A Abbasi, whose practice is at Nye Bevan House, Maclure Road, Rochdale, have been contacted for a comment.

An NHS HMR CCG Communications spokesperson said: “The CCG would not comment on matters like these which are solely practice matters.”

This 14th naming round comes after the government published its Good Work plan last month, which announced the right to a payslip for all workers. The new law is likely to benefit around 300,000 UK workers who do not currently get a payslip.

For those paid by the hour, payslips will also have to include how many hours the worker is paid for, making pay easier to understand and challenge if it is wrong. The move is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, the long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future by helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK.

Since 2013 the scheme has identified more than £9 million in back pay for around 67,000 workers, with more than 1,700 employers fined a total of £6.3 million. The government has also committed £25.3 million for minimum wage enforcement in 2017 to 2018.

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage not only have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates but also face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker.

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