The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has reported a ‘dramatic increase’ in cases of wage theft, where employers fail to pay wages or provide their employee with the benefits that they are entitled to by contract or law.

Paul Day, director of the PDA, said that the PDA offers support to its locum members in resolving wage disputes, and usually receives ‘tens’ of such cases each year with amounts ranging from less than £100 to more than £10,000.

However, Mr Day said that in just the last seven days the PDA has seen more than ten cases of wage theft, ‘which is a dramatic increase in the frequency of these situations’.

He said: ‘Many pharmacists are locums and practice across the sector, agreeing payment rates in return for providing pharmacist services to a client.  Most clients pay as agreed, however some do not on occasions.  These include large multiples, independent pharmacies and GP practices.’

‘Clients that do not pay their locums therefore can be subject to a court judgement forcing them to pay and which could also affect their business in future,’ added Mr Day, saying that the PDA supports its members with legal proceedings if necessary.

‘Though this process can secure the monies owed eventually, it would be better for those companies to pay what they owe without making it necessary.  The PDA strongly encourage all those who engage locums to pay the amounts they have agreed,’ he added.

In July, the PDA accused Tesco of contacting some locum pharmacists to threaten to cancel their contracted shift if they did not they accept lower rates than what they had previously agreed.

In 2019, the PDA recovered a record total of £50,000 in unpaid locum fees.