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Vineyard contractor to pay penalty for non-compliance

Media release

28 February 2014

Marlborough vineyard contractor to pay penalty for non-compliance

A Marlborough vineyard contractor has been ordered to pay $3000 for failing to comply with an improvement notice issued by the Labour Inspectorate.

The Employment Relations Authority handed down the penalty after it was found TP Manu Limited deliberately ignored requests by the Labour Inspectorate to provide timesheets, wage records and copies of employment agreements.

Labour Inspectorate general manager George Mason says a labour inspector visited TP Manu’s Blenheim work site last year and found several employees did not have employment agreements in place, which are legally required under the Employment Relations Act.

“As a result, the labour inspector issued an improvement notice requiring TP Manu to provide records to the Labour Inspectorate, which would assist in determining if TP Manu had breached any employment laws,” says Mr Mason.

“The request was repeatedly ignored by TP Manu, with one of the company’s directors Mr Pulukamu falsely claiming he was out of the country when the improvement notice was issued and that he hadn’t received it.”

In its determination the Employment Relations Authority said this behaviour was unacceptable and that Mr Pulukamu gave misleading evidence to the Authority, suggesting that TP Manu did not take the improvement notice seriously.

Mr Mason says the Labour Inspectorate welcomes the Authority’s determination and its decision to hand down a penalty.

“Marlborough’s pruning season gets under way in May and the Labour Inspectorate will be continuing its regular visits to vineyards to ensure compliance with employment laws.

“This determination should be considered a timely reminder for contractors to make sure they’re aware of their obligations as employers and requirements by law.”

Anyone with concerns about their employment rights is encouraged call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s contact centre on 0800 20 90 20.

ENDS

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