Original article from Kent Live
Three Kent businesses have been found to pay staff lower than the minimum wage.
According to new data released by the government, 191 businesses across the country have now been revealed for breaking National Minimum Wage law.
Investigations have revealed a total of £2.1 million was found to be owed to more than 34,000 members of staff.
The named employers have since been made to pay back the money they owed, and were collectively fined an additional £3.2 million for breaching the law.
Signing up to the KentLive newsletter means you'll get the latest news direct to your inbox twice a day.
It couldn't be simpler and it takes seconds – simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also enter your email address in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.
You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by pressing here and signing in.
One of those listed as breaching the regulations was Viking Academy Trust in Thanet, which failed to pay £651.43 to two workers.
The Trust says that the breach occurred in 2017 and related to apprentices who should have been moved to a higher rate of national minimum wage after their one-year anniversary of employment.
During that time, the trust, which consists of Upton Junior School, Ramsgate Arts Primary School and Chilton Primary School, outsourced its payroll to a local authority shared service, meaning all matters relating to HR and payroll were devolved.
The Trust’s executive head teacher Michaela Lewis said: “We take our responsibility to our employees extremely seriously and pride ourselves on caring for all aspects of their employment wherever possible.
“We subsequently issued a breach of notice to the company for their failings in managing our payroll and HR.
“We actively campaign for other schools managed under outsourced payroll and HR departments to be cautious in all matters relating to the administration of the National Minimum Wage.”
Grade One Commercial Cleaning Services also failed to pay funds to staff.
The Medway business owed £4,145.80 to six workers.
A spokeswoman for Grade One Commercial Cleaning Services said: "These incidents happened many years ago and have all now been dealt with."
CAJ Contract Services Limited from Ashford also failed to pay one worker £908.28.
KentLive did reach out to CAJ Contract Services Limited but they didn't respond before publication.
These incidents took place between 2011 and 2018, and this news follows the government's decision to increase the national living wage and national minimum wage rates in April this year.
Of all the employers across the country that have had their names revealed, 47 per cent wrongly deducted pay from workers' wages, including uniform and expenses.
A further 30 per cent failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, for example overtime.
Another 19 per cent also paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate.
Business Minister, Paul Scully, said: "Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up short.
"All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly.
"This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly."
Chair of the Low Pay Commission, Bryan Sanderson, said: "These are very difficult times for all workers, particularly those on low pay who are often undertaking critical tasks in a variety of key sectors including care.
"The minimum wage provides a crucial level of support and compliance is essential for the benefit of both the recipients and our society as a whole."
Sign up to get the latest stories from Kent direct in to your inbox here