HOME Bargains is among dozens of firms shamed by the Government for underpaying thousands of workers.

The discount chain which has a store in Runcorn is among 230 firms named for underpaying £1.44 million in back pay to more than 22,000 employees.

Vikings Sports Foundation failed to pay £1,026.47 to one worker.

Companies who breached the employment regulations have been fined almost £2 million.

A spokesman for Vikings Sports Foundation said: “The Vikings Sports Foundation are committed to being a fair and ethical employer. As soon as we identified that an employee's payroll details had not been updated to reflect a change in the minimum wage rate, we took immediate steps to resolve the situation.

"The Foundation promptly reimbursed the individual to back pay the full amount that they were due and informed HMRC of the administrative error.

"As a result of the Foundation's proactive and transparent approach to resolving this error, it has been issued with a reduced fine."

Home Bargains owner TJ Morris was the second-biggest underpayer in the country but claims it does pay above the minimum wage and has reimbursed the affected employees.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said TJ Morris failed to pay £272,228.44 to 6,743 workers - with average arrears of £40.37 per worker.

A spokesperson for TJ Morris said: "Like many major retailers, we have fallen foul of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's interpretation of how the minimum wage rates are calculated.

"Our hourly rate of pay is above the minimum wage and any of our employees who were affected were reimbursed last year."

Hitesh Patel, chief officer of Citizens Advice Halton, said: "Administrative errors happen but our concern are those firms that are deliberately flouting the law by not paying the national minimum wage.

"We often find that when people ask for advice about their rights to be paid the minimum wage, they are using being done out of other basic employment rights likes paid annual leave, statuary sick pay, having a written contract of employment, etc.

"If anyone wants to know more about their employment rights they should contact us or visit our website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/ "

The main reasons for employees failing to paying the national minimum and living wage included taking deductions from wages for expenses such as uniforms, underpaying apprentices, failing to pay travel time, misusing the accommodation allowance and using the wrong time periods for calculating pay.