TWO New Forest business were among the 260 employers ‘named and shamed’ by the UK government for paying staff less than the legal minimum wage.

Both based in Lymington, Central Southern Security Limited and the Manor at Sway each failed to pay £1,165 to two workers.

Tim Holloway, owner of the Manor at Sway said that the issue with one worker was caused by one employee being under paid by £70 over the summer of 2016, after returning to the company and turning 21 while he was away and it not being picked up by the business, Mr Holloway said that this was not intentional and quickly rectified once it had been spotted by management.

The second incident involved a current employee who lives on site being underpaid over £1000 as a result of confusion surrounding deductions being made for rent, meals and uniform.

Mr Holloway believes the issue stems from what he believes to be 'misinformation' on the HMRC website regarding uniform and meal deductions for employees. Despite this he said that he decided it was better to cooperate with the authorities rather than fight them, paying the money owed to the employee as well as the fine from HMRC. As a result of the action the company now provides meals to the employee free of charge.

Mr Holloway said:"As a young business its devastating to think we have in any way let any of our employees down and we took this matter very seriously. While we are upset this has happened we are happy that this happened relatively early in our life as a business as we have learnt a harsh early lesson over making sure that we are 100 per cent in accordance with government rules and regulations regarding this matter."

The Echo approached Southern Security Management but the owners were unavailable for comment at time of going press.

Hospitality businesses make up the largest proportion of those failing to pay workers correctly, with 288 workers in 58 businesses affected, said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Hairdressing and then retail were the next largest group of employers to fall foul of the law which has fined them £1.3 million in total, with BEIS identifying £1.7m in back-pay owed to 16,000 workers.

BEIS said yesterday’s figures showed the highest number of employees affected since it first published the list in 2013, as part of its strategy to ensure workers receive the pay to which they are entitled.

Business minister Margot James said: “There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to and the government will come down hard on businesses that break the rules.”

The current minimum wage rates are:

• National Living Wage (25 years and over): £7.50 per hour

• National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24-year-olds: £7.05 per hour

• National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20-year olds: £5.60 per hour

• National Minimum Wage for 16 to 17-year-olds: £4.05 per hour

• National Minimum Wage for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of an apprenticeship: £3.50 per hour