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8th March 2018

Epilepsy Society responds to claims around the national minimum wage

Epilepsy Society responds to claims around the national minimum wage paid to its workers.

We were devastated and shocked to find Epilepsy Society listed among UK employers who do not pay their employees the national minimum wage. The list is published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

As a charity that cares for people, we very much value all of our 450 staff and ensure that all employees receive at least the national minimum wage. We also provide a range of staff benefits including on-site staff accommodation, and this is where an error has unintentionally occurred.

Those employees who live in our staff accommodation (currently 26) have their rent deducted directly from their pay. Accommodation is provided at a reduced rate but we were unaware that it was above the government's 'accommodation offset level' of £6.40 per day. We are regularly audited by independent auditors and had not been advised that our practice - introduced specifically to support our staff - did not fall within the parameters of the law.

Last year, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) informed us that by taking rent direct from employees' salaries, this meant their pay effectively dropped below the national minimum wage. We have since worked closely with HMRC to proactively resolve this issue. We have reimbursed all staff who have been affected.

In line with Government regulations all those who are on the national minimum wage are now only charged a maximum of £6.40 per day for their accommodation.

All arrears reimbursed have come out of money procured through our business operation and have not affected our fundraising charitable income.

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