Three Teesside firms are among the 179 businesses across the UK “named and shamed” for not paying the minimum wage.
The government has released the details of the employers who have underpaid more than 9,000 minimum wage workers by £1.1 million.
And three of those are based around the Stockton area :
• Nath Stores Limited, of Holbeck Walk, Thornaby, failed to pay £1,823.69 to one worker.
• Vickers Construction Limited, of Yarm Road, Stockton, failed to pay £1,809.35 to one worker.
• Angela Fox, trading as Café Express, in the Castlegate Centre in Stockton, failed to pay £870.21 to one worker.
As well as recovering backpay for 9.200 workers, the government also fined the employers a total of £1.3 million in penalties for breaking national minimum wage laws. The most prolific offending sectors in this round were retailers, hospitality businesses and hairdressers.
A host of national firms with branches on Teesside were also among the 179 to be identified by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS).
• Thursday (UK) Limited, trading as TGI Friday’s, based in Luton, failed to pay £59,347.64 to 2,302 workers.
• Wright Leisure Limited, trading as Xercise4less, based in Leeds, failed to pay £54,290.37 to 240 workers.
• Ritcin Limited, trading as Starbucks, based in Belfast, failed to pay £1,592.79 to 79 workers.
• Shoe Zone Retail Limited, based in Leicester, failed to pay £804.88 to 15 workers.
The Government has released the information ahead of the next rate rise on 1 April, when the National Living Wage will go up from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour.
Apprentices under the age of 19 and those in the first year of their apprenticeship will benefit from a record 5.7% rise.
Later this month the DBEIS will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the new rates and encourage workers to speak to their employer if they think they are being underpaid.
Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “The world of work is changing and we have set out our plans to give millions of workers enhanced rights to ensure everyone is paid and treated fairly in the workplace.
“There are no excuses for short-changing workers. This is an absolute red line for this Government and employers who cross it will get caught – not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200% of wages owed.”
Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the Low Pay Commission, said: “The Low Pay Commission is pleased to see the Government maintaining the momentum of its minimum wage enforcement.
“The recent announcement that all workers will have a right to payslips stating the hours they have worked – an idea originally proposed by the LPC – is a positive step.”
The government published its Good Work plan last month, which announced the right to a payslip for all workers. The new law is likely to benefit around 300,000 UK workers who do not currently get a payslip.
For those paid by the hour, payslips will also have to include how many hours the worker is paid for, making pay easier to understand and challenge if it is wrong.
Since 2013 the scheme to name and shame those businesses not paying minimum wage has identified more than £9 million in back pay for around 67,000 workers, with more than 1,700 employers fined a total of £6.3 million.
Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage not only have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates but also face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker.
If you think you might be being underpaid, get advice and guidance at www.gov.uk/checkyourpay . Workers can also seek advice from workplace experts Acas.