Two Wearside firms named on government list of companies which failed to pay workers national minimum wage

A total of 198 companies nationwide were named on the list.
A total of 198 companies nationwide were named on the list.
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Two Wearside-based companies failed to pay some of their workers the national minimum wage, according to a list published by the government.

A list of 198 companies was published, and between them they owed £466,219 in arrears.

It’s wrong that we’ve been included on that list

Safe Night Security spokesman

Among those named were SLW Ltd, which is trading as Sycamore Care Centre, in Nookside, Sunderland, and Safe Night Security Ltd, also based in Sunderland.

SLW Ltd was reported as having owed £10,212.05 to 98 workers, while Safe Night Security was reported as having owed £156 to one worker.

The money has since been paid back to the workers, according to the government, after the list was announced by business minister Margot James.

SLW said it repaid all outstanding money to staff after realising it was paying before the minimum wage, while Safe Night contested its place on the list.

Linda Ann Wrout, managing director of SLW Ltd, said: “When it was identified to us that collectively we were paying below the minimum wage, the outstanding money was immediately repaid to staff and we apologised.

“We have always without fail, paid our staff the correct hourly rate of pay against the hours they work through payroll, and the shortfall was because we did not deduct the uniform or the administrative part of the DBS check and when this was calculated in their overall pay it put them slightly under the minimum wage band.

“The total amount of shortfall was £10,212 which was over a three-year period and affected 98 staff, that is: £3,404 a year, which meant the shortfall or what we owed each member of staff was around £34 each for each year.

“Otherwise we have demonstrated that we pay our valued staff correctly and in some cases above the hourly rate: for example we pay 18 to 25 year olds the full living wage as opposed to the minimum wage as we believe that it is discriminatory not to, as they do the same job as the over 25 year old staff and have the same living expenses.

“The ‘extra’ we pay on the hourly rate is £1.90 an hour or £3,952 per annum for each full time member of staff under 20 years and £1,040 per annum for each member of staff 20 to 24 years and we have a lot of staff in this age bracket.

“Sycamore Care Centre has a reputation for providing outstanding care within the local community, and families of service users, hospital and doctors surgeries recommend us on a regular basis.

“We pride ourselves on having a positive, open and honest culture within Sycamore Care Centre, investing in our staff and driving our service forward in a positive way.”

A spokesman for Safe Night Security, meanwhile, said: “The issue of the £156 was not about the national minimum wage.

“It was about a shift that one of the workers was mistakenly not paid for.

“That was due to somebody that works for us getting someone in to cover his shift.

“We didn’t even know the lad or his bank details.

“Inland revenue later got in touch and said someone had been mispaid, and as soon as we found that out, he was paid in full.

“It’s wrong that we’ve been included on that list.”

The companies included on the national list included football clubs, hotels, care homes and hairdressers, and all of the money in question has since been paid back to the workers.

Since the scheme was introduced in October 2013, 688 employers have been named, with total arrears of more than £3.5million.

Business minister Margot James said: “This government is determined to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

“That means making sure everyone gets paid the wages they are owed – including our new, higher, national living wage.

“It is not acceptable that some employers fail to pay at least the minimum wage their workers are entitled to.

“So we’ll continue to crack down on those who ignore the law, including by naming and shaming them.”

The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over was introduced this April, meaning a pay rise of more than £900-a-year for someone previously working full-time on the national minimum wage.

For workers aged under 25, the national minimum wage still applies.