Argos faces fine of £1.5m after paying below minimum wage

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Argos has been fined nearly £1.5m after an HMRC investigation found it paying below minimum wage.

The company have been forced to repay £2.4m in wages to 37,000 current and former shop workers.

The retailer was bought by Sainsbury’s last year, it will only pay £800,000 to HMRC, receiving a discount on the £1.5m fine as it will pay the money within 14 days of being informed of the sanction.

The underpayments of around £64 per person date back to 2014 and was uncovered last year. Sainsbury’s said it had changed processes in December as soon as it was possible to do so after being made aware of the issue.

In a letter to staff, John Rogers, who became boss of Argos after it was acquired by Sainsbury’s six months ago, said the issue had been uncovered by HMRC as part of a “routine visit”.

He said: “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.”

He also stated that Sainsbury’s is planning a wage rise for its lowest paid Argos staff over 25, it will see an increase of two per cent from £7.20 to £7.66 an hour.

The National Living Wage is set to rise from £7.20 to £7.50 in April.

Rogers added: “Without doubt colleagues make the difference to Argos and we are looking at pay and benefits across the business,”

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