Telford care firm is shamed for ‘pay error’

The boss of a Telford care company says an administrative error led to it being pinpointed by the Government for underpayment of staff.

The Tailored Care website
The Tailored Care website

Tailored Care was among more than 350 companies around the country “named and shamed” by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for paying less than the minimum wage.

It repaid £5,788.72 to 95 workers – an average of £60.93 each – after its shortfall was highlighted.

Boss David Fensome said the company usually paid above the mandatory minimum, but was caught out by HMRC rules relating to costs of training about two years ago.

The firm, which employs 300 people serving contracts with councils across the region, offers free training to new staff, but was charging £100 when workers left within a certain time.

While that was permitted by HMRC, it should have been deducted from the most recent pay cheque, not workers’ overall wages since joining, and that took those 95 staff below the minimum pay threshold for their final month with the company.

Mr Fensome said: “We  consider ourselves to be a good company – we are a large employer in Shropshire and Staffordshire with a lot of loyal staff – we promote from within, pay travel and mileage and are transparent about pay.

We are against zero-hours contracts and want to pay people far money for a fair day’s work.

“Unfortunately this was a rule we just fell foul of.

“If a company does wrong then publicising it isn’t a bad thing, although the time delay can be difficult as a lot can change in a business in two years.”

A number of big-name employers were highlighted by the release of information from the Government, including department store chain Debenhams, which has a branch in Telford.

The company said it made a technical error in its payroll calculations, which resulted in an average underpayment of around £10 per person to affected workers in 2015.

The new announcement means that more than 1,000 employers have been identified since the policy started in 2013.

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