Northern Ireland

Five NI firms failed to pay minimum wage

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Media captionEnterprise Minister Arlene Foster said she hoped the naming of firms would act as a deterrent to others.

Five Northern Ireland companies have been named and shamed by the government for failing to pay the minimum wage.

They are the Belfast marketing firm Manleys; The Worx phone and PC shop, Portadown; SuperValu, Kells; Grove Mechanical Services, Magherafelt and Derrygonnelly Autos, County Fermanagh.

The minimum wage for workers over the age of 21 is £6.50 per hour.

The five Northern Ireland firms are among a list of 70 offenders named and shamed across the UK.

The government has also revealed the exact amounts owed to the workers who were underpaid by their employers.

  • Manleys Ltd, Belfast, failed to pay £3,797.83 to three members of its staff
  • Julie Ann Wright, trading The Worx, Portadown, underpaid a worker by £1,110.60
  • Phillip and Lorraine Campbell, trading as Supervalu, Kells, Ballymena, failed to pay £905.86 to two employees
  • Grove Mechanical Services Ltd, Magherafelt, neglected to pay £107 to two workers
  • Kevin and Bernadette Farrell, trading as Derrygonnelly Autos, County Fermanagh, failed to pay £1,690.35 to an employee

These details have come to light after new rules to crack down on issue came into effect in 2013.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said this was a clear warning to employers they will face reputational consequences as well as financial penalties.

It comes a day after the Low Pay Commission recommended a 3% rise in the minimum wage from October, that would be the biggest increase since 2008.

A decision will be made in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for Manleys said the firm was "disappointed" in the ruling and how it had been portrayed.

"We have always invested heavily in supporting students and the issue centres around a student placement year post, and a student gap year by the daughter of the business owners who, they believed, were exempt from the national minimum wage," he said.

"We fully support the NMW legislation, but feel more clarity is needed for the small business owner."

A spokesperson for Musgrave Retail Partners said the Supervalu in Kells was independently owned and the failure to pay minimum wages was as a result of a clerical error by the owner.

"The staff members had been paid at the lower rate for 18 - 20 year olds but weren't transferred to the higher rate on turning 21. The error has been rectified and the two staff members have been fully reimbursed by their employer," the spokesperson said.

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