A NEWPORT firm is among five in Wales and almost 140 across the UK, to have been ‘named and shamed’ by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for failing to pay the minimum wage.

Smart Solutions (Recruitment) Limited, based at Langstone, failed to pay £1,152.09 to 90 workers, according to the department, which has issued the latest set of details of companies that are being called out by the Government for short-changing their employees.

Business minister Paul Scully says the list should be a “wake-up call” to rogue bosses.

The department has relaunched the naming scheme for errant firms after a two-year pause.

A spokesman from Smart Solutions said: “As a responsible employer, Smart Solutions works hard to ensure that all workers at every site we manage are paid promptly and in adherence with National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations.

"Our listing on the Under-Payment Register after the UK Government’s latest ‘naming round’ refers to a historical, isolated incident at a single client facility from 2016, where clocking-in equipment was incorrectly repositioned. This meant that, for a period, workers were not paid for the time taken to change in and out of their hygiene wear, which technically counts as ‘working time’ for NMW purposes.

“As soon as the error was identified, Smart Solutions investigated the situation with the client’s cooperation. Workers whose pay fell below the NMW were identified and paid within one calendar month of agreement with HMRC as to the value of each individual’s shortfall. This equated to an average payment of £12.94 being made by Smart Solutions to each worker affected.

“Smart Solutions has since delivered additional training to its staff, particularly highlighting the importance of assessing what counts as ‘working time’, alongside other employment and health and safety regulations, to ensure that similar situations cannot happen in the future.”

Five companies in Wales failed to pay almost £10,000 to nearly 140 workers in total, as follows:

• Mr Phillip Brookman, trading as Phillip Brookman Decorator & Plasterer, Cardiff failed to pay £5,141.70 to one worker;

• Shades Hair Design Limited- Dissolved 18/12/2018, trading as Shades Hair & Beauty, Bridgend CF32, failed to pay £1,487.98 to two workers;

• Rainbows Day Care (Pembrokeshire) Limited - company dissolved 03/03/2020, Pembrokeshire SA66, failed to pay £1,273.38 to 46 workers;

• Smart Solutions (Recruitment) Limited, Newport NP18, failed to pay £1,152.09 to 90 workers;

• Mistsolar Limited, trading as Bridgend Ford, Bridgend CF31, failed to pay £739.00 to one worker.

Across the UK, 139 companies that were investigated by the department between 2016 and 2018 failed to pay £6.7m to more than 95,000 workers in total.

The offending companies range in size from small businesses to large multinationals who employ thousands of people across the country.


While the vast majority of businesses follow the law and uphold workers’ rights, the publication of the list is intended to serve as a warning to rogue employers that the Government will take action against those who fail to pay their employees properly.

This is the first time the Government has named and shamed companies for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage since 2018, following reforms to the process to ensure only the worst offenders are targeted.

“Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it is the law. It is never acceptable for any employer to short-change their workers," said Mr Scully.

“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.”

One of the main causes of minimum wage breaches was low-paid employees being made to cover work costs, which would eat into their pay packet, such as paying for uniform, training or parking fees.

Also, some employers failed to raise employees’ pay after they had a birthday, which should have moved them into a different National Minimum Wage bracket.

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates. They also face hefty financial penalties of up to 200 per cent of arrears - capped at £10,000 per worker - which are paid to the Government.

Each of the companies named today have paid back their workers, and were forced to pay financial penalties.