Academy and private school fined for failing to pay minimum wage

9th March 2018 at 14:25
minimum wage, national minimum wage, living wage, holbrook academy, lyndhurst school, fined, back pay,
Independent Lyndhurst School blames 'historical clerical error which was rectified immediately'. Holbrook Academy blames 'incorrect information' provided by training organisation.

An academy and an independent school have been fined for failing to pay workers the minimum wage.

The government today named and shamed Holbrook Academy in Suffolk, and Lyndhurst School in Surrey, as two of nearly 180 employers found to have broken national minimum wage laws.

It said that Holbrook failed to pay £1,862.05 to two workers between September 2016 and January 2017.

Meanwhile, Lyndhurst had failed to pay £1,696.21 to three workers between September 2015 and March 2017.

Both schools had to give the workers back pay, and were fined by the government.

Andrew Rudkin, headmaster of Lyndhurst School, said that teachers were not affected by the underpayments at his school.

He told Tes: “This was purely an historical clerical error which was rectified immediately. The staff concerned were admin staff.

“A strenuous internal audit was put in place forthwith which did not uncover any other errors, in fact quite the contrary.”

Holbrook Academy told Tes the underpayments were due to incorrect information provided by the organisation training two members of staff for teaching assistant qualifications.

Headteacher Simon Letman said: “This was not our error. It was the error of the two members of staffs’ trainer and when they told us they had made a mistake we rectified the problem immediately and the two ladies received all of the back pay they were due.

“We did not consciously pay below the minimum wage. We paid at what we felt was the appropriate point on the scale until we were told otherwise by the trainers.”

Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: “There are no excuses for short-changing workers. This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught - not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200 per cent of wages owed.”

The national minimum or "living" wage is currently £7.50 for people aged 25 and above, but will rise to £7.83 from April 1.

Later this month the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the new rates and encourage workers to speak to their employer if they think they are being underpaid.

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