Old Town bar owner told to pay worker £800 in 'below minimum wage' arrears (From Swindon Advertiser)
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Old Town bar owner told to pay worker £800 in 'below minimum wage' arrears
A BAR owner and his business partner have been given a month by HM Revenue and Customs to pay more than £800 in wages owed to a former employee.
Mani Madhani and Patrick Edwards face court action unless they pay arrears to Iryna Shymkova, who worked at a coffee shop they ran at Nuffield Health, at Greenbridge Retail Park.
Mrs Shymkova, 29, claims she was paid in cash at below the minimum wage while she was employed at the venture, which later closed, and did not receive her final month’s pay.
Mr Madhani said he had paid the correct amount when tax deductions were taken into account but admitted there was money owed, which he was waiting for her to collect.
The HMRC agreed the partnership owe £838 in wages to Mrs Shymkova, who worked for three months beginning February 2012 at the Old Bank Coffee Lounge.
She also worked part-time for Mr Madhani at the Old Bank bar, in Wood Street, Old Town.
The mum-of-one, of Kingshill, claims she was paid in cash at the rate of £5 per hour for her work at the cafe before it was taken back in-house by Nuffield in April.
In a letter to the tax office, she said: “Mr Edwards was responsible for the day-to-day running of the coffee lounge.
“He offered me a job, at the rate of £5 per hour, cash-in-hand. I began working there in February and was paid for my work at that hourly rate for February and March.
“I was not happy with the arrangement, as payment was below the legal minimum wage, but felt in no position to challenge.”
Mrs Shymkova claims she was told by the company that due to her other job at the bar she was receiving below the minimum wage because she was not paying tax.
“This response did not seem satisfactory,” she said. “The personal tax allowance for the year ending April 5, 2012 was £7,475. Even with the other job at the Old Bank bar, my earnings would have been below this threshold.”
Mrs Shymkova, a Ukrainian national who is entitled to work in the UK, was kept on by the health club, who consider her a model employee.
She is taking her claim forward with her husband, Roman Hlodan. The couple believe she lost out because she was a newcomer to the country.
She said: “Since my arrival in the UK after I got married I tried very hard to get a job and was grateful to have the opportunity.
“I grudgingly accepted the terms offered to me by Mr Edwards. Because of the difficulties I have experienced in finding employment, I did not want to rock the boat.”
In correspondence seen by the Adver, an HMRC officer concluded Mr Madhani and Mr Edwards owed £828 because they did not provide ‘at least the minimum wage’. A notice of underpayment was sent to the partnership on October 25, asking them to pay up. The HMRC took advice from its technical office this month and reissued the arrears notice, with the businessmen given a month to pay up or face court action.
Mr Madhani denied Mrs Shymkova was paid below the minimum wage once tax deductions were taken into account, which could be calculated on the HMRC’s website.
The 43-year-old company director said: “We agreed with the tax office to take all the pay she had, put it through the pay slip, deduct the tax and what is left is what she’s owed.
“The officer at the tax office dealing with it has agreed that. Iryna has not come to collect her pay. If she wants to get rude and not turn up to appointments, what can I do?”