Ross-on-Wye retail outlet, Ross Labels, finds itself among the 202 UK firms named for underpaying staff in a recent government announcement. This round-up follows a 9.7 per cent increase in the National Living Wage and Minimum Wage, affecting nearly 3 million employees.

The list exposed a total of £7 million in penalties and repayments owed by the cited companies, a consequence of their negligence, leaving approximately 63,000 of their lowest-earning workers under-compensated.

Ross Labels director, Karen Davies, spoke to the Gazette about the company’s inclusion on the list, citing an unexpected uniform policy issue as the cause. She said: “After an HMRC visit in June 2018, we learned that due to our uniform policy, we should’ve provided uniforms or a uniform allowance to any minimum wage employees.”

The director explained their surprise at the requirement, as their uniform did not bear the company name and was not exclusive to work use. The outfit, consisting of general colour-coded clothing, seemed irrelevant to them as it could be worn outside of the workplace. “Though disappointed by the investigation’s outcome,” Karen added, “Ross Labels cooperated fully with HMRC, compensating colleagues - including those who’ve left the company - with a uniform allowance.”