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Grant Thornton Apologizes to Ex-Audit Associate For Paying Him Less Than Minimum Wage

a card that says sorry with flowers around on a white background

Funny story today from across the pond that eFinancialCareers spotted on LinkedIn. A gent who spent nine months as an audit associate at Grant Thornton’s Manchester office got a letter from them a year after leaving that apologized for inadvertently paying him less than minimum wage. And he’s not mad about it.

Yavinka Mendis, a University of Manchester economics graduate, joined KPMG’s Manchester office as an audit associate in 2019. He worked there for just over a year, auditing investment banks among other things, before leaving and spending four months working for Domino’s Pizza while looking for other roles. Mendis eventually found one at Grant Thornton, where he spent nine months as an audit associate in the public sector assurance at the Manchester office before leaving to work in Spain.

Mendis says he left Grant Thornton because he was burnt out. A letter he received from the firm nearly 12 months after he left, published to his LinkedIn account, helps explain why: after looking back through its timesheet data and considering his Mendi’s ‘flexible benefit choices,’ Grant Thornton said it had realised that he’d earned less than the minimum wage for the time he’d spent there. It sent him £100 [$121.12] for the inconvenience and promised to make up the difference.

Mendis says he wasn’t aggrieved at his underpayment, and instead complimented Grant Thornton for its honesty. He didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Although Mendis didn’t want to speak to eFinancialCareers, GT did and said they discovered that “a small number of our people were inadvertently paid under the National Minimum Wage threshold, owing to them having made significant salary sacrifice deductions via our flexible benefit choices and/or having worked longer hours during specific periods of the year” after an internal review. However:

[The firm] added that no one there actually receives a salary below the minimum wage threshold.

Indeed says the average salary for a Grant Thornton audit associate in the UK is £32,059, Payscale puts it in a range of £17k – £30k or an average of £23,031. While the National Minimum Wage is currently £10.42 ($12.64) an hour, assuming he spent a year at KPMG he would have started at GT in 2020 or 2021 at the latest, at which time minimum wage in the UK was up to £8.91 ($10.79).

Accounting firm apologises for paying trainee below minimum wage [eFinancialCareers]