The owner of a Peterborough day nursery named and shamed by the government for not paying their workers the National Minimum Wage says the incident occurred under previous management.
Childcare Directory Ltd, trading as Whiz Kids Day Nursery, Peterborough, was ranked at number 24 of the 90 worst companies in the UK announced by Business Minister Nick Boles today (Friday, January 5).
But business owner Liz Debenham has defended the day nursery and said the failure to pay the correct wage was made before she took it over, a fact confirmed by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
Mrs Debenham said: “To set the record straight, this occurred October 2013 to February 2014 when the nursery was Bright Kids and before we took over the business.
“When we purchased the business we spotted this injustice and corrected it immediately. However, because we then owned the business, when HMRC investigated we were the ones named and fined even though it was nothing to do with us.
“How unfair is that.”
The day nursery, located on Peterborough Business Park, Innovation Way, Lynchwood, was said to have failed to pay £1,698 to one employee.
In total, the 92 companies named by the government owed £1,873,712 in arrears, and they cover sectors including hairdressing, social care, hospitality and security services.
Since the scheme was introduced in October 2013, 490 employers have been named and shamed, with total arrears of over £3,000,000 and total penalties of over £1,100,000.
Business Minister Nick Boles said: “As a one nation government on the side of working people we are determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage receives it. There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to.
“Our policy of naming and shaming employers who ignore the law means there are consequences for their reputation as well as their wallets.
“In April we will introduce a new National Living Wage which will mean a pay rise of over £900-a-year for someone working full time on the minimum wage and we will enforce this equally robustly.”
On 1 October 2015, the National Minimum Wage rose to £6.70. Employers should be aware of the different rates for the National Minimum Wage depending on the circumstances of their workers.
Businesses or employees who have any questions about the National Minimum Wage can contact Acas online by visiting www.acas.org.uk/nmw.