Two telecommunications companies have been ordered to pay nearly £100,000 in wage arrears after a tribunal ruled they were entitled to a higher rate of National Minimum Wage (NMW).
The companies claimed 197 of their call centre telesales workers were apprentice but HM Revenue and Customs successfully argued they were entitled to a higher rate of NMW.
Axis Telecom was ordered to repay £21,224.53 in arrears to 14 workers, and Servizon was ordered to repay arrears of £75,117.28 to 183 workers.
In addition, a penalty of £5,000 per company was also imposed.
Notices of underpayment were issued by HMRC on behalf of workers previously employed by Axis Telecom and Servizon as call centre telesales operators.
HMRC successfully argued at the employment tribunal that the workers were not employed under contracts of apprenticeship and were entitled to be paid a higher rate of NMW.
Michelle Wyer, assistant director of NMW at HMRC, said: “We are pleased the employment tribunal has given this ruling in support of the workers who were being underpaid.”
“Our aim is to enforce the law and protect vulnerable workers.”
A ruling was given on 26th March following an employment tribunal hearing in Hull.