NI businesses 'named and shamed' for underpaying staff
Seventeen Northern Ireland businesses - including a recruitment agency - have been "named and shamed" for underpaying workers.
They are among hundreds of employers recently fined by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The government said the list of 360 employers from across the UK "is the largest ever" record of companies that broke regulations on the national minimum or living wage.
It includes the retail giant Debenhams.
According to HMRC, the hairdressing, hospitality and retail sectors are "the most prolific offenders".
As well as recovering the arrears for workers, HMRC issues penalties to the offending businesses.
A firm based in Portadown - WH Recruitment Limited - topped the list of Northern Ireland businesses which were fined. It failed to pay 143 workers a combined total of £26,418.
A spokesman for WH Recruitment told the BBC: "We are a registered agency and put our hands up. This was to do with the accommodation offset regulation."
BC Plant Limited, another of the companies fined by HMRC, told the BBC the discrepancy in payments was due to the difference in the overtime rates for apprentices and other employees: "The oversight concerned overtime payments to apprentices which were paid at a rate of time and a half of the minimum apprentice rate as opposed to time and a half of national minimum wage. This was an oversight and all employees involved were reimbursed immediately once the error came to light."
The National Living Wage rate is currently £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over.
The full list of Northern Ireland employers fined by HMRC is:
- WH Recruitment Ltd, Portadown failed to pay £26,418.67 to 143 workers
- Sean Bennett trading as Bennetts Seafood Bar & Grill, Warrenpoint, failed to pay £7,300.15 to 25 workers
- Boran-Mopack Limited, Strabane, failed to pay £6,779.05 to one worker
- Margaret Danks, trading as Shine Hair Company, Belfast, failed to pay £5,811.95 to one worker
- Fusion Heating Limited, Belfast, failed to pay £4,353.69 to two workers
- Rumour Expresso Bar Ltd, Armagh, failed to pay £1,779.85 to five workers
- Muldoon Transport Systems Ltd, Dungannon, failed to pay £1,468.25 to seven workers
- Mrs Charmaine V Doherty, trading as Causeway Coach Hire, Ballymoney, failed to pay £1,307.50 to 10 workers
- Sammy Mellon and Sons Limited, Bangor, failed to pay £1,236.00 to one worker
- BC Plant Limited, Hillsborough, failed to pay £1,180.63 to five workers
- Villa Scalini Ltd, trading as Villa Italia, Belfast, failed to pay £928.41 to one worker
- Sohan S Kular Ltd, trading as Custom House Restaurant, Londonderry, failed to pay £365.16 to nine workers
- Mark and Lynne McDowell, trading as McDowell's Butchers, Carrickfergus, failed to pay £359.49 to three workers
- McHenry's Central Bar Ltd, Ballycastle, failed to pay £330.24 to one worker
- Curran Court Hotel Limited (Previous Owners), Larne, failed to pay £282.88 to three workers
- Creativ3 Merchandise Ltd, Carrickfergus, failed to pay £268.18 to one worker
- McGrady Limited, Downpatrick, failed to pay £113.33 to one worker