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Migrant dairy worker survey highlights procedure hole

14 August 2014

Government migrant dairy worker survey highlights procedure hole

Following the third phase of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) dairy strategy, focussed on migrant workers, Federated Farmers knows a sizable minority of farmers still need to meet basic employment law and the Federation is offering to help.

“The latest information from MBIE shows that there has been a significant improvement in the performance of dairy farmers, but far too many are failing to take accurate time sheets seriously enough,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Employment Spokesperson.

“We are pleased MBIE inspectors did not find any exploitative behaviour of migrant workers on the 42 farms they visited. That said we’ve still got a bit of work to do with our guys on record keeping and basic employment practices.

“Most Kiwi farmers deserve a silver star for taking personnel matters seriously but our industry is judged by our weakest link. A fair number will be doing what they’ve always done but we’re sending a message that the landscape has changed.

“The Council of Trade Unions is watching this space closely and we have a General Election on 20 September. We need to show them that we are responsible and responsive employers, whether that’s of Kiwis or migrant workers.

“Late last year, to help farmers do better with migrant workers, Federated Farmers released a migrant pack. Costing members just $200 (plus GST), it is written in farmer-speak and includes everything an employer needs to follow.

“We’ve got a number of tools and templates in this space to assist farmers. There has been exponential growth in time wage and holiday record sales so our message is getting through.

“Take Federated Farmers employment contract, which could prevent thousands of dollars in penalties and a heap of heartache. That’s only $60 (plus GST) for members while the member price of our comprehensive first time employer pack is only $120 (plus GST).

“These are industry standard, they are tested and above all they work if used correctly. Employment polices and procedures are like a gym-membership, it’s of no use unless you actively use them and the back up Federated Farmers provides.

“I don’t wish to give the game away here to the NBR but the sales of contracts and agreements have been growing.

“Most farmers are getting the message but those who don’t seriously risk a shellacking in the Employment Court. If you haven’t got your employment act fully together, then call us on 0800 327 646 or go to www.fedfarm.org.nz,” Mr Hoggard concluded.


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