Iceland slams HMRC for probe into savings scheme amid Covid-19

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Iceland Malcolm Walker HMRC
The scheme was intended to allow staff to save money for Christmas
// Iceland launches attack against HMRC for its investigation over a savings scheme amid Covid-19
// Iceland boss Malcolm Walker says he is “totally shocked & amazed” that HMRC is chasing the business

Iceland has reportedly slammed the HMRC for “harassing” the retailer over its Christmas Club employee savings scheme during the coronavirus crisis.

The frozen food specialist’s boss Malcolm Walker said he was “totally shocked and amazed” that the government department is chasing Iceland for information on the scheme “under the current conditions,” The Times reported.

The scheme was intended to allow staff to save money for Christmas.


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HMRC reportedly accused Iceland of breaking minimum wage rules around the savings scheme for its staff.

As part of the scheme, Iceland employees could choose to have money deducted from their pay packets that is then saved in a dedicated account and typically withdrawn at Christmas.

HMRC has argued that, as a result, their pay technically did not meet the minimum wage regulations.

Walker said Iceland currently had 3000 employees off sick on full pay, a further 1200 vulnerable staff taking 12 weeks leave on sick pay and it was facing £20 million of additional costs from dealing with the coronavirus.

Iceland boss said that sales had halved at 200 of its stores.

However, total sales are thought to have increased by double-digits demand for frozen food soared during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the HMRC said Iceland broke further rules by telling store staff to wear “sensible shoes” because employees should be compensated for any footwear purchased for work.

As a result of the allegations, Iceland may have to pay £21 million, and it has already spent more than £300,000 in legal fees defending its Christmas Club and footwear policy against HMRC’s investigations.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. HMRC are being rediculous. Presumably, the saving scheme is voluntary and the shoes simply part of Iceland’s dress code.

  2. HMRC are being totally unreasonable and insensitive. Given the scheme is voiuntary, it should be totally legal provided interest on the savings is equally distributed.
    If Iceland is not in any way benefiting from it, then it’s fine by me.

  3. And if they had gone to work in high heels and suffered foot injury or tripped it would be a workplace related injury and Iceland’s problem.
    HMRC should drop this.

  4. I work for Iceland and have done the Christmas savings club for years! It’s great! U have to sign up to it and pick an amount you want to save each week/month. U can withdraw at any time but most wait till November for the full year of savings pay out ready to buy all your Christmas presents. As for the shoes…. U are given steal toe cap boots it’s up to u if you want to wear different all they ask is the shoes are sensible.

  5. HMRC are being ridiculous, anything to grab money! I work for iceland and the Christmas scheme is voluntary and I for one am very greatful for it, its saved and I cant touch the money unless I go out of my way to do it and it means my children have an amazing christmas. The shoes policy is standard and they can be provided if asked for but most people prefer to wear the style comfortable to them. Give iceland a break considering everything we are doing during this crisis!

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