Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


MBIE’s dairy farm employee position statement positive

8 May 2014

MBIE’s dairy farm employee position statement positive

With the employment practices of dairy farmers in the media spotlight, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Labour Inspectorate’s newly released position statement, is to be followed up by both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ.

“Dairy farmers can expect a joint Industry Best Practice Guidance note next week,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson.

“Both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ endorses MBIE’s common sense position statement, which not only reminds employers about the Minimum Wage Act 1983, but reminds them ‘seasonal averaging’ has gone the same way as 245-T.

“Bearing in mind many farm employers pay above the minimum wage for entry level roles, it reminds employers the law stipulates that every employee must be paid at least the minimum wage, for every hour they work.

“We genuinely applaud MBIE’s decision to review the Minimum Wage Order to include a fortnightly minimum wage rate in the order.

“Farm employees tell us they want to be paid consistent wages but the Minimum Wage Order’s current week-by-week focus is outdated. It does not reflect the modern rostered environment on today’s farms.

“What MBIE is doing will benefit many other industries outside of the primary industries.

“The Statement addresses the biggest concern I had with what MBIE recently found and that was widespread failure to properly record time and holidays. This makes any employer’s position indefensible and exposes farm businesses to fines of up to $20,000.

“As an overwhelming number of farm employees receive accommodation, the Statement says that accommodation costs can be treated as “wages” under the Minimum Wage Act.

“While employers and employees may agree that accommodation costs can be deducted before the payment of wages, accommodation costs should be clearly detailed and reasonable.

“Record keeping is vital and needs to be kept separate from the employment agreement, or is able to be separated.

“Given there are considerable benefits to working on-farm, from food to firewood, the statement clarifies that such benefits do not form part of the employee’s wages. Instead, if the employee agrees, it can be deducted from wages at an agreed cost.

“Both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ know our guys need to seriously lift their game because if you are deficient you will be done like a dog’s dinner.

“If you are a Federated Farmers member, our industry standard employment contract costs just $60 ($300 for non-members). While there’s GST on top, the contract includes comprehensive notes covering the minimum wage, holidays act and the like.

“On Monday, we released a more advanced Employers Pack providing all the information, requirements, forms and agreements that any first time employer needs in agriculture.

“In light of the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill, our employers pack contains a new drug and alcohol policy as well as an outline of the correct disciplinary process.

“For members of the Federation, this more detailed version costs a mere $120 with GST on top. A very small price to pay considering the penalties and bad press at stake.

“If farm employers are members of the Federation, they can further call 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) to access the Federation’s free employment law help line. If you are in doubt just call us,” Katie Milne concluded.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>

ALSO:

Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>

ALSO:

Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: ComCom Charges Hawkins’ Finance Companies Over Debt Recovery

The Commerce Commission has filed criminal proceedings against two finance companies run by former 1980s high-flyer Allan Hawkins over their debt recovery practices. More>>

ALSO:

Science Media Centre: The Big Science Stories Of 2014

It was a dramatic year for science, one that witnessed a severe outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and an historic mission to land a space probe on a comet. On the home front... headlines with animal testing for 'legal highs', 1080 use to tackle increased pest numbers and court action over genetically modified organisms among the most-covered stories. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news