Businesses ‘named and shamed’ for under-paying staff

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Two North Antrim businesses are included in a list published by a government department for under-paying staff.

The list has been published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

More than 350 employers have been named and shamed in the largest ever list of national minimum and living wage offenders.

Locally, the list includes McHenry’s Central Bar Ltd, Ballycastle, which failed to pay £330.24 to one worker and Charmaine V Doherty, trading as Causeway Coach Hire, Ballymoney, which failed to pay £1,307.50 to 10 workers.

Gemma McHenry, of McHenry’s Central Bar Ltd, said: “It was a genuine mistake of four pence an hour which arose from her changing age.”

She stressed that the discrepancy was “not on purpose” and it was rectified.

“I know there are people out there who do not treat their staff very well but we are not in that category,” she added.

No-one from Causeway Coach Hire was available for comment.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy named 350 businesses across the United Kingdom which underpaid 15,520 workers a total of £995,233, with employers in the hairdressing, hospitality and retail sectors the most prolific offenders.

As well as recovering arrears for some of the UK’s lowest paid workers, HMRC issued penalties worth around £800,000.

For the first time, the naming list includes employers who failed to pay eligible workers at least the new National Living Wage rate, which is currently £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “The National Living and Minimum Wage is an essential part of building the higher wage, lower welfare, lower tax society that the UK needs and something every worker is entitled to.

“Thanks to government investigations more than 15 and a half thousand of the UK’s lowest paid workers are to be back paid as we continue to build a Northern Ireland, and wider United Kingdom, that works for everyone.”