North East firms are today being shamed by the Government for not paying the living or minimum wage to their employees.
More than 350 employers nationally have been named as the Government publishes its largest ever list of offenders.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy today names 360 businesses who 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.
Business Minister Margot James said: “Every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the national minimum or living wage and this government will ensure they get it.
“That is why we have named and shamed more than 350 employers who failed to pay the legal minimum, sending the clear message to employers that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished.”
Excuses for underpaying workers included using tips to top up pay, docking workers’ wages to pay for their Christmas party and making staff pay for their own uniforms out of their salary.
The North East firms named on the list are as follows:
* Mrs Helen Dey, Mrs Karen Clark, Mr Harry Clark, Miss Jessica Clark & Miss Jennifer Dey trading as Tiny Turners Nurseries, Stockton-on-Tees TS18, failed to pay £20,740.90 to 54 workers.
* Gary Hedley, Mr Arthur Murray & Mrs Shirley Murray trading as Gary Hedley Hairdressing, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE1, failed to pay £18,539.40 to 27 workers.
* Delicatezza Limited trading as Peri Peri Original, Middlesbrough TS1, failed to pay £9,687.66 to 7 workers.
* Moncur Reece Ltd, Middlesbrough TS4, failed to pay £8,092.26 to 1 worker.
* Mr Arthur Race & Mr Chris Race trading as Race Joinery, Auckland Park DL14, failed to pay £5,303.36 to 1 worker.
* Mrs Melanie Ferri trading as Rapport Hair & Beauty, Middlesbrough TS3, failed to pay £3,642.18 to 1 worker.
* Mrs Ravinder Rai trading as Langley Park Village Store, Durham DH7, failed to pay £2,123.13 to 1 worker.
* Perco Task 1 Ltd trading as Subway, Durham DH1 5EJ, failed to pay £1,468.03 to 1 worker.
* Engineering Recruitment Services Ltd trading, Middlesbrough TS3, failed to pay £857.64 to 1 worker.
* Mrs Amanda Hume trading as House of Usher, Morpeth NE65, failed to pay £369.17 to 1 worker.
* Footprints Learning for Life Ltd, Hartlepool TS24, failed to pay £339.85 to 4 workers.
* Highfield House Care Home Limited, Durham DH6, failed to pay £176.40 to 9 workers.
* Mr Chris Race trading as Race Joinery, Auckland Park DL14, failed to pay £171.88 to 1 worker.
The publication of the company names comes weeks after the Government launched a £1.7million national minimum and living wage awareness-raising campaign, encouraging the UK’s lowest paid workers to check they are being paid the correct rates and to report their employer if they are not.
Since the naming and shaming scheme was introduced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in October 2013, more than 1,000 employers have been named, with arrears totalling more than £4.5million.
More than £2million in fines have been issued to national minimum and living wage offenders.
There are currently more than 1,500 open cases which HMRC is investigating.