Birmingham City FC has been fined for breaking national minimum wage laws, newly released data reveals. The local club is part of a group of four that have been identified in the latest analysis by the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
The three others are St Helens RFC, Stoke City FC and Yeovil Town FC.
But the local city club and St. Helens RFC are by far the biggest offenders, owing each to their minimum wage employees more than £5,500.
Birmingham City FC owes £5,653 to 534 workers during 2011-2016, while St Helens RFC underpaid 117 workers by £5,537 for a period stretching from 2015 to 2016.
The analysis also found Stoke City FC has been underpaying seven workers by £1,103 from 2011 to 2017. Yeovil Town FC is off by £174 that it owes to two employees.
The analysis carried out by the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) finds that more than 170 employers from various sectors have been underpaying their minimum wage workers in the country.
According to the data, 9,200 workers have been paid below the national minimum wage rates, for a total collective sum of £1.1m that is owed to them. 179 employers will be collectively fined £1.3m after underpayment. The naming round comes before minimum wage rates are set to rise on April 1st.
Paycheck deduction schemes triggered irregularities
As has been the case with other employers, Stoke City FC has attributed the cause to a paycheck deduction scheme allowing workers to spend on products in this way.
Asked for an explanation, a spokesperson for the club said: “Once this matter was brought to our attention we moved swiftly to repay the money to the members of staff concerned.”
“The issue arose from our now historical practice of allowing staff to pay for tickets and retail merchandise voluntarily purchased from the Club via deduction from their monthly salaries, for which the employees gave written permission for deductions to be made.”
“HMRC’s investigation concluded that the Club had complied with the National Minimum Wage regulations for all staff over the period 2012 to 2017, save for these voluntary deductions.”
It has also been decided that the employees will not be permitted to buy products like tickets and items from the club shop via the deduction scheme anymore.
The football club is therefore confident that the breach will not return and that the club is to be “fully compliant with all current regulations” from now on.
Birmingham City FC Failed to respond to requests for comment.
St Helens issued a statement, although without attributing the infraction to any specific cause:
“The Club is committed to paying the national minimum wage, and operates a policy of paying a premium over and above the national minimum wage. However, a limited number of staff were identified as having been underpaid the national minimum wage. This was unintentional, and the Club has unreservedly apologised to affected staff.”
“Fortunately these instances of underpayment were isolated in nature, and the Club has worked with HMRC to resolve the underpayments. All affected staff have been reimbursed. The Club has reviewed its payroll systems to ensure that the strict requirements for calculating compliance with the national minimum wage regulations are observed.”