New Hope Nursery in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland has been named in a list of companies that failed to pay their staff the minimum wage.
The nursery was one of around 50 businesses that were named and shamed by the HMRC for failing to pay staff members the lowest legal wage.
Geraldine Kelly, who runs the setting, has spoken about this, saying she feels “targeted” by the government for what she claims was a misunderstanding.
The 46 year old said the business was included in the list because of confusion over whether she was required to pay her workers for first aid and child protection training, not that she had underpaid. She continued by saying that she was disheartened the nursery had been named and that the issue had been flagged during a routine inspection.
“They said everything was fine but he then asked me if the girls did courses and when I said they did he asked if I paid them for their time out.”
“I explained that they go to courses to keep up their first aid and child protection which is valid for three years so if they left me next month they take it with them – it’s not my course. I said I didn’t pay them as it was outside work hours so he came back and said I had to pay them.”
“That then resulted in the girls being below the minimum wage for that week.”
“It was £343 spilt between 11 people which they all got right away. Then they also fined me £190.”
“It really annoyed me because I thought why am I being named with people that maybe haven’t pay them through for minimum wage when I always have with my staff at the least if not more.”
“I thought it was very unfair that I was being targeted along with people who weren’t putting stuff through right.”
“I felt very disheartened as it didn’t look good for the business that I wasn’t paying staff at least the minimum wage, which is not the case.”
A spokesman for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said: “Employers should be aware that hours spent in training must not take the pay that people receive below the national minimum wage.”
“All employment that are investigated by HMRC and issued with a notice of underpayment will be named under the current scheme. Making a mistake is not a good enough reason to avoid being named.”