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Marks & Spencer, Dune, Chanel fined for minimum wage breaches

By Huw Hughes


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Image: Marks & Spencer, Facebook

Marks & Spencer, Dune Group, and Chanel Limited are among a group of businesses that have been “named and shamed” by the UK government and ordered to pay “short-changed” staff.

According to the Department for Business and Trade, 202 companies failed to pay the minimum wage to their lowest paid employees following an investigation by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs concluded between 2017 and 2019.

The government noted that “the businesses named in today’s list have since paid back what they owe to their staff and have also faced financial penalties” after leaving a combined total of 63,000 workers “out of pocket”.

“Paying the legal minimum wage is non-negotiable and all businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working staff,” Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business Kevin Hollinrake said in a statement.

Among those companies breaching National Minimum Wage (NMW) laws were some big-name fashion businesses.

Marks & Spencer failed to pay 578,391 pounds to 5,363 workers; Chanel Limited failed to pay 70,414 pounds to 250 workers; Dune Group failed to pay 21,088 pounds to 339 workers; and Oasis and Warehouse Limited failed to pay 10,964 pounds to 996 workers.

‘Unintentional technical issue’

A Marks & Spencer spokesperson told The Mirror: “Like many other organisations, Marks & Spencer is only named in the NMW list because of an unintentional technical issue from over four years ago.

“This happened simply because temporary colleagues were not paid within the strict time periods specified in the NMW Regulations and was remedied as soon as we became aware of the issue.

“Our minimum hourly pay has never been below the national minimum wage, it is currently above it and no colleagues were ever underpaid because of this.”

Dune Group commented: “This breach in 2017-18 was not intentional and was technical in nature related to payment for products purchased through the staff discount scheme or uniform allowance.

“Upon discovery of the issue five years ago, we immediately changed our processes to ensure we are fully compliant whilst continuing to offer the opportunity for our team to have access to our fabulous product at a substantial discount.

“We are disappointed to be on the list as we are passionate about our people and fully committed to ensuring that Dune is a fantastic business in which to work.”

Chanel commented: “Chanel UK staff are, and have always historically been, employed on a headline hourly rate above the National Minimum Wage.

“What appear as payments under the National Minimum Wage for some staff prior to 2019 were due to the fact that they had authorised the company to make certain deductions from their salary at source. These included deductions such as discounted staff purchases and pension contributions, which Chanel had not understood as having to be taken into consideration when calculating staff hourly rates.

“Following HMRC’s investigation, Chanel immediately reviewed and updated its approach to reflect HMRC technical guidance. Chanel also ensured that for impacted employees, the gap between the actual payment and the minimum wage was fully compensated.

“Chanel remains committed to strong employer standards. As such, all UK employees are paid above the UK Living Wage or, for those in London, the London Living Wage, as per the Living Wage Foundation.”

FashionUnited has reached out to Oasis and Warehouse Limited owner Boohoo Group for comment.

Marks & Spencer
Oasis and Warehouse
Workers Rights