East Antrim businesses ‘named and shamed’ for under-paying staff

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Three East Antrim businesses are included in a list published by a government department for short-changing 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 two Carrick employers.

Mark and Lynne McDowell, trading as McDowell’s Butchers, failed to pay £359.49 to three workers.

Creativ3 Merchandise Ltd failed to pay £268.18 to one worker.

The former owners of the Curran Court Hotel Limited, Larne, which went into administration last year, failed to pay £282.88 to three workers.

Commenting on the under-payment, Carrick butcher Mark McDowell said it had been “a genuine mistake”.

A spokesman for the former owners of the Curran Court described the discrepancy as “a clerical error”.

“It was to do with a threshold change when a birthday occurred. It was rectified at the time. The employees, at the time, were given the opportunity to complain further but they were happy with the outcome.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy named 360 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.”