Letchworth salon aggrieved after being named in list of minimum wage offenders

A Letchworth salon feels aggrieved after being named and shamed in a list of minimum wage offenders.

A Letchworth salon feels aggrieved after being named and shamed in a list of minimum wage offenders. - Credit: Archant

A popular Letchworth salon has been left feeling hard done by after being named and shamed in a government document listing minimum wage offenders.

Government business minister Jo Swinson put the spotlight on a list of 37 employers who failed to pay their workers the national minimum wage.

Included in the list was Station Parade-based The Salon, which has been trading in Letchworth for more than a quarter of a century.

Ms Swinson said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.

“If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action by naming, shaming and fining them as well as helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them.”

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According to the document released by the government, The Salon neglected to pay £409.85 to a worker.

But Gary Brinkler, who runs The Salon, said: “During the past 25 years we have taken on more than 50 apprentices and have never knowingly underpaid any members of staff.

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“We have always prided ourselves on our training and offer qualifications up to NVQ level 3.

“Our trainees regularly compete and are successful in many competitions and the programme is run through a government-accredited training provider.

“They regularly monitor our premises for health and safety requirements and advise on minimum pay.”

The Salon was contacted in September 2013 to investigate a claim of failure to pay the minimum wage to a female member of staff.

Because she had been taken on for a three-month trial, and paid a learning wage, The Salon was found to have broken the rules when a decision made not to hire her.

Having been advised that the minimum wage should have been received rather than the learning wage in this case, the ex-employee was paid £406 in a full settlement of her under payment.

Mr Brinkler: “We still feel very aggrieved that we have been named and shamed for not making a payment that was a genuine error and was paid in full as soon as we were informed.

“Since then all trainees who start with us are issued with a 14-week traineeship contract for the trial period.”

The government has already named 55 employers since the new naming regime came into force in October 2013.

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