Minimum wage offence an oversight, says Lancashire shop owner

Paid up: Karen Riley, pictured at Crave in 2011
Paid up: Karen Riley, pictured at Crave in 2011
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The owner of a Lancashire sandwich shop “named and shamed” by the Government for failing to pay the national minimum wage today said it was a complete oversight.

Crave sandwich shop in Poulton Street, Kirkham, near Preston, was among 37 employers named this week by Business Minister Jo Swinson.

Owner Karen Riley was find after neglecting to pay £1,179.09 to seven workers at the sandwich shop and catering firm.

Today Mrs Riley said the offence was a pure oversight.

Mrs Riley, who opened the shop in 2010 after many years as a civilian employee with Lancashire Constabulary, said: “I set up my own business and paid everybody the same rate – £5 a hour. I no idea I was doing anything wrong. I was not doing it for personal gain. I have paid all of it back.”

Mrs Riley said she was amazed that her then accountant did not pick up on it.

She said it had been a nightmare experience and the £288 fined had been minimised because the inspectors realised that it was a oversight.

“The inspectors were very understanding about what had happened. I have had to learn the hard way.”

The Government list included a number of employers who between them owed workers a total of more than £177,000 in arrears and have been charged financial penalties totalling over £51,000.

David A Farrer Ltd, of Morecambe, was also named by the Government after neglecting to pay £2,261.00 to a worker. A spokesman for the firm said: “A genuine mistake was made in the wording of an apprentice contract which a director did not fully understand the implications of.”

The firm said it had no idea an offence had been committed until contacted by HMRC.