Former Tesco staff who were made redundant last month have been asked to return redundancy sums that were overpaid to them in an “administrative error”.
Between 200 and 300 former workers have been affected by the mistake, which saw some staff receive redundancy payments totalling as much as £2,000 in excess of what they were owed, while others were underpaid.
Chief executive Dave Lewis apologised to those affected, stating: “There was a mistake. Anybody that was underpaid was rectified within 24-36 hours and we’re now in consultation with those people who were overpaid.”
The supermarket said anyone who was overpaid by more than £500 will be able to keep £100, but those overpaid by less than £500 will be allowed to keep the full amount.
The staff were made redundant as part of a £1.5 billion cost saving programme, which is expected to affect around 9,000 full time employees. The restructure will see fresh food counters closed in around 90 of its stores.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “A small number of colleagues were impacted by an administrative error which resulted in an incorrect redundancy payment being made to them.
“Colleagues who were underpaid were paid the correct amount within one to two working days and this issue is now resolved.
“We have been in touch with colleagues who were overpaid to apologise, and we will be fair to colleagues affected, taking account of individual circumstances.”
Alex Kiernan, a lawyer at Loch Employment Law, said employees that meet the criteria for a statutory redundancy payment have the right to receive the correct sums owed to them.
“While some aspects of employment law may be unclear or complex, the law regarding redundancy pay is very clear as to what, as a minimum, employees should be paid. There is even an online government calculator that can be used by employers to help avoid errors,” he said.
“Employees who believe they may have been affected should seek legal advice and could start by checking their entitlements themselves using the online calculator. If they have been underpaid, they should in most cases write to Tesco as soon as possible highlighting the shortfall, seeking recompense.
“It seems likely that this is an honest error by Tesco and they will seek to rectify the incorrect payments made without legal action becoming necessary.”