Betfred Fails to Correctly Pay Staff Overtime
British bookmaker Betfred have caused controversy this week after they apparently failed to pay their staff correctly, or indeed inform them that they may be owed money, having discovered a widespread underpayment issue.
Underpayments to Cost Betfred
Betfred is owned by Fred and Peter Done, both billionaires and both considerable donors to the Conservative party, and employs more than 7,000 people. The firm admitted that it has failed to ensure automatic payments to staff for extra holiday pay after they’d agreed to work overtime.
Rather than pay staff what they were actually due based on total hours worked, Betfred instead worked out wages based on the contracted hours of the staff, in many cases this meant people being grossly underpaid and leaving them short by hundreds of pounds.
The mistake could cost Betfred dear, as staff working in as many as 1,650 shops could have a claim against the company. Lawyers Leigh Day are talking to staff in attempt to find out who may be affected before perhaps launching their claim.
Despite the owners’ support for the Tories, Betfred have been in contact recently with the Labour MP for Bootle, Peter Dowd MP, apparently acknowledging the issue and promising to tell workers how to claim their missing money.
A company whistle-blower however has alerted the press this week of the fact that Betfred allegedly have not sent out a company memo or made an announcement since promising back in August to make the payments, rather preferring instead for staff to make a claim although many were not even aware of the problem.
As of now it’s not clear what percentage of Betfred’s staff have been affected by this but clearly, it’s an issue as many works for a salary only just above the minimum wage. The company whistle-blower has been quick to point out that most staff at Betfred work overtime as branches are basically understaffed.
The aforementioned Done brothers, ranked just outside of the top 100 richest people in Britain with a combined wealth of £1.25billion, have hit the headlines before when it comes to cash. Betfred has paid out more than £20million in company dividends in the past couple of years, mostly to them, and they have also given the Conservative party £100,000 which is a matter of public record.
Their controversies don’t stop there either. The brothers have been known to sack employees just before Christmas, have linked pay scales to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals’ success and lent money to staff at a whopping 40% interest.
For its part, Betfred have spoken out to calm the situation and have blamed problems with their internal payroll system.
Apparently, the system failed to cope with the fact that it has to implement changes from a 12-week reference period to a 52-week one. This, they claim, has made things extremely difficult to implement payments through the system.
The company also says they are looking for their external payroll system providers to give them the tools needed to enable them to make the correct automated payments by next April, and in the meantime they promise to continue to deal with all staff claims on a case-by-case basis, something that could take a long time to solve.
What probably doesn’t help the anger here is that in blaming the payroll company and not its human resources company, Bright HR which is also owned by the Done brothers, it appears they simply do not wish to stand up to any public scrutiny or make proper apologies.
In this instance it is easy to see why make a large claim via a law firm before sharing it out may well be what’s best for the staff.