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Flouting Employment Law costs Gisborne Employer $30k

Published 01 Dec 2015

M Contractors, a sole trader providing seasonal labour to horticultural operation in Gisborne, has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) in penalties for breaching employment laws and arrears owed to workers.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate brought the case before the ERA after investigating a complaint about the employer failing to pay holiday entitlements to staff.

An extensive investigation by the Labour Inspectorate found that the employer, Mele Ford, failed to keep and produce compliant wage and time records, leave records and employment agreements. There was also $19,455 in unpaid holiday pay owing to 31 past employees.

Labour Inspectorate Wellington Regional Manager Kevin Finnegan says employment records are required to be kept by law and the provision of minimum employment entitlements such as holiday pay are vital for managing any business.

“Flouting basic employment laws not only harms the workers, but also the reputation of the horticulture sector which Mrs Ford was supplying labour to,” he says.

The ERA concluded that Mrs Ford’s business practices were “irresponsible” and “reckless”. She was ordered to repay the arrears to workers and pay a $10,000 penalty for breaching the law.

“This ruling sends a clear message to employers that failure to comply with the minimum employment standards will not be tolerated. Mrs Ford is no longer operating her business,” says Mr Finnegan.

Employers who breach the employment law will be subject to enforcement action which can include penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies.

Source : MBIE