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Employment Law Breaches:Canterbury Construction Firms Warned

Canterbury Construction Firms Warned After Employment Law Breaches

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is warning Canterbury construction firms to make sure they’re complying with employment law, following recent action by the Labour Inspectorate.

The Ministry is keeping a close eye on the Christchurch rebuild, with international evidence showing that rebuild operations too often result in underpaid and overworked employees.

The Labour Inspectorate has issued an improvement notice to a construction firm after an investigation found a worker had not received his full wages, annual leave or public holiday entitlements. He and another employee were also not supplied with employment agreements.

The Labour Inspectorate’s acting-southern regional manager Steve Watson says the employer has now introduced written employment agreements and outstanding wage and holiday payments are being made.

“The rebuild is creating a variety of work opportunities, particularly for skilled tradespeople such as painters, carpenters and plasterers,” says Mr Watson.

“Employers need to make sure they’re acting lawfully and each employee is receiving their minimum entitlements.”

The rebuild also poses a risk for migrant exploitation, with high numbers of workers in Canterbury coming from outside New Zealand.

“Migrant workers are a particularly vulnerable section of the workforce and are an increasing focus for the Ministry’s enforcement operations,” says Mr Watson.

“The Labour Inspectorate is working with Immigration New Zealand to ensure migrant exploitation, such as paying less than the minimum wage or making people work excessive hours, does not occur in Canterbury.”

There are financial penalties for not complying with employment laws of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies.

The Labour Inspectorate encourages anyone in this situation or who knows of people in this situation to phone our call centre on 0800 20 90 20 where your concerns will be handled in a safe environment.


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