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Sports Direct probe on underpaid employees widens to 13,000 shop staff

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The official investigation into allegations Sports Direct has failed to pay some of its 3000 warehouse staff the minimum wage has been widened to include the retail chain's 13,000 shop workers, according to The Guardian.

The newspaper reported today that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was now investigating if Sports Direct employees in retail outlets across the UK have also been paid less than the national minumum wage, a month after the chain's billionaire founder Mike Ashley told a parliamentary inqurity it had broken the law in not meeting that legal minimum for warehouse staff based at the company's Derbyshire headquarters.

Ashley also told MPs leading the inquiry, who are expected to publish their report on Friday, that Sports Direct was being investigated by HMRC over the breach.

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Testiminials published in The Guardian revealed Sports Direct workers in both retail outlets and the warehouse were routinely expected to work for an extra hour or so after clocking off, when they were not getting paid.

Workers were also allegedly deducted 15 minutes of pay just for being one minute late.

This meant the workers were effectively being paid around £6.50 an hour, instead if the minimum rate of £6.70.

In a letter to The Guardian, Ashley denied his company illegally underpaid employees, citing a policy to pay them above the minimum wage and providing "handsome" rewards when they've been earned.

It is understood the HMRC widened its investigation because it was protocol to investigate businesses where it believes the national minimum wage is not being paid based on the sources and information they have been provided.

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Published on Thursday 21 July by Elias Jahshan

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