The Southern Health Trust has been named among a list of UK employers who have failed to pay their employees the minimum wage.
And the Trust was one of the worst offenders, according to the information released by HM Customs and Revenue.
It failed to pay a total of £11,285.34 to 269 workers.
But the Southern Trust was not alone.
In fact, all five of Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Trusts made the list of 139 companies from across the UK, who collectively failed to pay £6.7 million to their workers, in what HMRC said was a “completely unacceptable breach of employment law”.
The HMRC release describes those on it as “rogue employers named and shamed for failing to pay minimum wage”.
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, covering Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council, failed to pay £7,564 to 193 members of staff.
The Belfast Trust failed to pay £7,303 to 192 workers, the Northern Health failed to pay £6,900 to 146 workers, while the Western Health Trust, failed to pay £6,171 to 170 workers.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health told the BBC the issues had been caused by “late payment of the increased rate in the National Living Wage effective from 1 April 2017”.
“All HSC staff are paid at rates which are above the minimum wage,” the spokesperson said.
According to the BBC, the Department had stressed that the correct rate was applied and paid to affected staff in August and September 2017, with arrears back to April 1, 2017.
It said it had always been the “HSC intention to pay the correct rate”, with the statement adding: “A unique combination of factors meant that there was a delay, and this was entirely outside the HSC employers’ control.”
Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it is the law. It is never acceptable for any employer to short-change their workers, but it is especially disappointing to see huge household names who absolutely should know better on this list.
“This should serve as a wake-up call to named employers and a reminder to everyone of the importance of paying workers what they are legally entitled to.
“Make no mistake, those who fail to follow minimum wage rules will be caught out and made to pay up.”
Other Northern Ireland companies to make the list were as follows:
– Doherty & Gray Limited, Mid and East Antrim BT42, failed to pay £43,470.16 to 128 workers
– Western Brand Poultry Products (NI) Ltd, Fermanagh and Omagh BT92, failed to pay £9,275 to 50 workers
– Manor House Country Hotel Limited, Fermanagh and Omagh BT94, failed to pay £2,837.04 to 139 workers
– Mr Darran Vaughan, trading as VAS Car Sales, Newry, Mourne and Down, failed to pay £2,351.41 to 1 worker
– Larne Coachworks Limited, Mid and East Antrim BT1, failed to pay £1,791.69 to 1 worker
– Business Services Organisation, Belfast BT2, failed to pay £1,310.69 to 32 workers
– Glenpac Bacon Products Limited , Newry, Mourne and Down BT35, failed to pay £752.02 to 2 workers
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