Named and shamed: The companies who failed to pay workers the minimum wage

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BUSINESSES have been named and shamed by the Government for failing to pay their workers the national minimum wage.

Shops and factories on Wearside and County Durham have been listed among 70 employers who have not paid their workers the correct amount by Business Minister Jo Swinson, bringing the overall total named and shamed to 162.

Between them, these 70 employers owed workers a total of over £157,000 in arrears and have been charged financial penalties totalling over £70,000.

The businesses include:

•Deborah Adcock trading as LJ Beauty & Hair, Murton, neglected to pay £463.60 to a worker

•Encore Envelopes Ltd, Washington, neglected to pay £2,060.09 to a worker

•Assad Madani trading as Donapapa Pizza, Chester-le-Street, neglected to pay £101.64 to a worker.

A spokesman for Encore Envelopes said: “Encore employs a number of apprentices and are proud of the investment we make in developing new starters, in particular straight from school.

“In the case of one employee serving a four-year apprenticeship, because he had reached the age of 19 during such apprenticeship, we should have increased his wage from an apprentice rate to at least the National Minimum Wage.

“Due to an oversight on our part this increase did not take place and this one employee was underpaid £1,839.59 and not the amount reported.

“Unfortunately the employee was also not aware that he was being underpaid as, had he drawn this to our attention, it would have been dealt with immediately.

“Naturally our procedures have been tightened up accordingly to prevent such an error/underpayment occurring again in the future as we continue to offer apprenticeships due to the benefits they bring for employee and employer alike.”

No one from the hair salon or takeaway were available for comment.

The latest list has been issued following another which detailed 93 employers as part of the new naming regime came into force in October 2013.

They had total arrears of over £316,000 and total penalties of over £111,000.

The Government says the publication of the details is part of its minimum wage crackdown it will also be increasing HMRC’s £9.2million enforcement budget by a further £3million, helping to fund more than 70 extra compliance officers.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.

“Naming and shaming gives a clear warning to employers who ignore the rules, that they will face reputational consequences as well as financial penalties of up to £20,000 if they don’t pay the minimum wage.”

Employers have a duty to be aware of the different legal rates for the National Minimum Wage.

The current National Minimum Wage rates stand at an adult rate for those 21 and over, £6.50 per hour; 18 to 20-year-olds, £5.13 per hour, 16 to 17-year-olds, £3.79 per hour, and apprentice rate, £2.73 per hour.

The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 years and those aged 19 years and over who are in their first year.

All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for their age.