A construction firm has been named and shamed by the Government for not paying its staff the minimum wage.
A2ZEE, based in Cramlington, was exposed in a list of 25 businesses across the country.
It is claimed the firm, which has its base on Dewley Court and specialises in joinery, owes 14 staff £3,375.51.
The TUC has branded the practice “immoral” and has called on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to be handed more money to catch wage dodgers.
The list is the biggest published by the Government since it announced a crackdown on employers who fail to pay their staff the legal minimum last year.
Between the list of 25, it is said the firms owe employees more than £43,000 in arrears, and face fines of over £21,000.
The minimum wage rate is set at £6.31 an hour though living wage campaigners say it should be £7.65.
Elsewhere Steven Stainton, of Steven Stainton Joinery, in Cumbria’s Cockermouth, neglected to pay £1,415 to a worker.
The largest amount a UK company failed to pay its workers was the £7,310 a North West firm failed to pay three of its workers.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady praised the Government for exposing the firms.
She said: “Under-paying your lowest paid staff is immoral and illegal. Employers caught in the act deserve to be fined and have their reputation ruined.
“This should send a clear message that dodging the minimum wage does not pay. All minimum wage cheats should be named and shamed, and HMRC need greater resources to catch even more crooks.”
The Government also plans to increase fines, so that an employer underpaying 10 workers could face fines of up to £200,000.
Business Minister Jenny Willott encouraged workers to get in touch with officials if they suspected employers were short-changing them.
She said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is not only wrong, it’s illegal. If employers break the law they need to know that they will face tough consequences.
“Any worker who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it.
“If anyone suspects they are not being paid the wage they are legally entitled to they should call the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368.”
The Journal was not able to contact anyone at A2ZEE for a comment yesterday.
Source – Newcastle Journal, 09 June 2014
More than £4.6 million has been paid out to thousands of people working for less than the national minimum wage, including staff at a Premier League football club, figures have shown.
HM Revenue and Customs said it had held more than 1,400 investigations in the past year which led to arrears being paid to 22,000 workers.
Around 650 financial penalties were issued, worth £815,000, recovering an average of £205 per person.
Business minister Jenny Willott said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal and, as HMRC’s record shows, if employers break the law they will face tough consequences.
“We want to issue a clear warning to employers who fail to pay the minimum wage – under the Government’s new rules you will be named and shamed and face a stiff financial penalty.”
The unnamed football club was ordered to pay arrears of more than £27,500 to 3,000 workers after it made deductions for uniforms and travelling time for staff working in hospitality.
Other cases included a social care provider found to have not paid its staff for travelling time and a recruitment agency ordered to pay more than £167,000 to workers, including some it had classified as unpaid interns.
Jennie Granger, director of enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said: “Paying the national minimum wage is not a choice – it’s the law. HMRC will continue to ensure that workers get at least the wage to which they are legally entitled.
“Where an employer ignores these rules, we will ensure that any arrears are paid out in full and the employer is fined. Rogue employers be warned – we will find you and you will pay.”
> So Workfare – working for benefits only – an amount below the national minimum wage ? Will the HMRC find Iain Duncan Smith and make him pay?
Source – Northern Echo, 05 June 2014