'Book-keeping error' led to Bradford garage being named and shamed over failure to pay minimum wage, bosses say (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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'Book-keeping error' led to Bradford garage being named and shamed over failure to pay minimum wage, bosses say
7:02pm Monday 9th June 2014 in News
Bosses at a Bradford garage named and shamed by the Government for failing to pay an employee the national minimum wage say they have paid the price - and more - for what they blamed on a simple book-keeping error.
Alan King, 63, who runs Arthur Simpson & Co in Highfield Road, Idle, with his son John, 35, who is the fourth generation of the family to do so, said the mistake in the books, which amounted to about £35 a week over three years, was identified during a HM Customs and Revenues spot-check shortly after Christmas.
Mr King said yesterdayMON: "Fair enough a mistake was made but it was not done intentionally.
"Our family has had this garage for 98 years and we would not have survived all that time and have hundreds of happy, loyal customers if we were in the business of doing things wrong.
"As soon as the mistake was pointed out to us we did everything we could to work with the revenues advisor who was very helpful.
"We have taken the slap, we have paid the price and much more for a mistake that we weren't personally responsible for. My head had to be on the block regardless and all this has taken a heavy toll - I've been depressed."
Mr King also criticised the naming and shaming process.
"As far as this naming and shaming business goes, we were never told this was going to happen," he said.
"We thought everything had been put straight, all the money and more had been paid up - if I'd refused to pay the money and walked away from my debts then I'd deserve it but I don't deserve this."
Arthur Simpson & Co was among 25 employers, including a hire company, a hairdressers, a hotel and a shop, named as part of a new Government minimum wage crackdown.
A spokesman for the Government's Business, Skills and Innovation Department said fact-sheets and letters were routinely given to all employers found not to be paying the national minimum wage re-iterating they could be open to naming and shaming.
The garage is no longer using the services of the book-keeper who had taken care of its finances for t he past 25 years.
Mr King said: "We have completely overhauled how our financial side runs, the pay-roll - everything to make sure this never ever happens again."
He said the 'under-paid' technician who had joined the garage nine years go as a school-leaver and had been supported through college to get qualifications, had never once questioned his wage.
"The full £6,426.12 was not owed to him as such, he got about £2,000 of it - the rest of it was the Government's share and they got the fine money on top of it."
The revenue run-in has not put the Kings' off from taking on trainees.
Mr King said: "We've just taken on a new apprentice. We have to move on from this now."
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