The government have published a list consisting of companies big and small that have failed to pay their employees at the current National Minimum Wage Rates, with a total of £446,000 owed in arrears.

So how are big names, such as football clubs, failing to pay National Minimum Wage?


Stoke City Football Club Limited failed to pay £1,102.62 to 7 workers.

Birmingham City Football Club failed to pay £5,653.03 to 534 workers.


Birmingham City Football Club

Birmingham City’s underpayments were a result of uniform deductions. At the start of employment employees had £10 deducted from their salary as a deposit for their uniform, on leaving employment at the club this was refunded. However, the original deposit deduction is taking into consideration for NMW calculations, and despite being refunded at a later date, did take employees below NMW for their first pay period.

Stoke City Football Club

Stoke City had a scheme that allowed employees to purchase tickets and merchandise through a deduction from their monthly salary. Although written permission was given by employees, the deductions took them below minimum wage therefore making it non-compliant.


So, what happened next…

Birmingham City Football Club

Birmingham City announced that they “cooperated fully with the Government and all alleged payments were refunded last year”. Further to this they have removed their policy to take uniform deposits from employees.

Stoke City Football Club

Stoke City have confirmed that they have eradicated the scheme that allowed employees to purchase match tickets and items from the club shop through wage deductions and have stated that “the reported breach will not recur, and the club is confident that we are now fully compliant with all current regulations”.


It is clear that both Birmingham City and Stoke City’s football club NMW failures weren’t intentionally made in an attempt to undercut their staff, but that the policies in place were unknowingly non-compliant, resulting in the underpayment.

In such incidences, HMRC’s ‘naming and shaming’ without context could be deemed as harsh. However, NMW is there to ensure all employees are paid fairly and staying compliant is a legality for employers.

Are you 100% sure your policies are compliant? If not, get in touch for a payroll health check.
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