A Farnborough company has been named by the government as one of 25 firms which failed to pay employees the minimum wage.

Central Heating Services Ltd was one of the businesses named and shamed for failing to pay four workers a total of £6,200.28 - the third largest amount of outstanding money on the list.

HM Revenue and Customs investigated the firms after workers had made complaints to the Pay and Work Rights helpline, which was launched under a new regime last October to make it easier to highlight those who are not paying the correct rates.

Currently the minimum wage for over 21s is £6.31 per hour, for 18 to 20-year-olds it is £5.03 and for under 18s it is £3.72.

For apprentices, the minimum wage is £2.68 per hour - for 16 to 18-year-olds and those aged 19 or over, who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age.

At Central Heating Services, based at Invincible Road, it was apprentices who had complained about being underpaid, and have since been compensated in full and had their pay increased. 

In a statement, Rob Banks, managing director of Central Heating Services Ltd, said: "Central Heating Services is proud of its investment into a bespoke NICEIC, BPEC and City & Guilds accredited training and assessment centre, the centre is completely self funded by the company, with no assistance, grants or any other form of funding from central government.

"Apprentices are paid over and above the national apprenticeship scheme pay rates, Central Heating Services were advised that although it paid above national apprenticeship scheme pay rates, minimum wage must be applied.

"As soon as the company was made aware, four apprentices were compensated in full for any shortfall that had occurred and their pay rates increased accordingly.

"All four apprentices are now fully qualified heating engineers working for the company."

He added: "Central Heating Services training and assessment centre has won national awards for the quality of its training facilities and the quality of the apprentice scheme it provides.

"One apprentice was awarded the H&V News Apprentice of the Year, this national award is considered the top accolade within the heating industry.

"The company has also achieved several national awards for its service, maintenance and installation works.

"Central Heating Services is a family-owned business that employs more than 100 staff. We pride ourselves on our employee/employer relationships which is proven by the retention of staff and field engineers that have been employed by the company for many years."

The Government's business minister Jenny Willott said: "Paying less than the minimum wage is not only wrong, it’s illegal. If employers break the law they need to know that they will face tough consequences.

"Any worker who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it. If anyone suspects they are not being paid the wage they are legally entitled to they should call the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368."

From October 1 2014, the minimum wage will increase by 19p for over 21s, by 10p for 18 to 20-year-olds, by 7p for 16 to 17-year-olds and by 5p for apprentices.