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Employment Agency investigations lead to repayments to workers and penalties on agencies

Penalties have been levied on two Corby agencies for failing to pay wages properly to local workers as part of a local campaign by Corby MP, Andy Sawford.

Mr Sawford has been working closely with the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate and Her Majesties Revenue and Customs to take action where local agencies are abusing employees. Investigations have been taking place in twelve local agencies, two are now completed and ten are ongoing.

In the two agencies where the investigations have concluded, they have received automatic penalty charges totalling £1532 and workers have been repaid wages totalling £3154. These cases are small though compared with the 10 agencies subject to continuing investigation. HMRC have confirmed that they are investigating potential arrears of wages totalling £120,000 payable to over 3000 workers, with penalty charges likely to be around £15,000.

Mr Sawford said:

“I am determined to stop employment agencies from exploiting local workers.   

“After meetings with the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and with the government Minister responsible, I was pleased to welcome a major joint EASI and HMRC task force to Corby.  

“As I feared, they found very significant issues of exploitation and I have been working to make sure that these lead to action. Two agencies have already paid the price for flouting the law and ten more are under investigation.   

“I am delighted that local workers have been getting money back that was owed to them but the amounts returned so far are the tip of the iceberg and I will be keeping the pressure up to make sure that all the investigations are followed through.”

David Gauke MP, the Minister responsible for HMRC, confirmed the latest position on investigations but said that “HMRC is bound by a duty of confidentiality” and would not reveal the agencies involved.   Mr Sawford said:  “Frankly, I think these Employment Agencies should be named and shamed for ripping off local workers, rather than being able to hide behind confidentiality”.  

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