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Marlborough businesses penalised for labour law breaches

Marlborough businesses penalised for labour law breaches

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) Christchurch has ordered Vine Strength Ltd (VSL) and SP 2007 Ltd (SPL) to pay $6,879 and $15,837 respectively in unpaid wages to an employee and a $10,000 fine to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

MBIE’s Labour Inspectorate brought the case against VSL and SPL before the ERA in mid-2014 after receiving a complaint from the employee – a migrant worker.

Both companies and their owner Mr Ajay Gaur were accused of various offences, ranging from failure to pay the minimum wage and holiday pay, failure to keep time and wage records for work performed at a vineyard, failure to pay the employee for work done at a takeaway, seeking and receiving a premium in order to support his employee’s residency application, and failure to provide a written employment agreement as required by the Employment Relations Act 2000.

An extensive investigation by the Labour Inspectorate upheld all claims except that of Mr Gaur seeking and receiving $10,000 in support of the employee’s residence application.

The Authority determined $10,000 is to be paid by VSL and SPL as a penalty for breaching section 135 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and a total of $22,716 from the two companies is to be repaid as minimum wages and holiday pay.

Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Adrian Straayer says employment records are required to be kept by law and the exploitation of migrant workers is not welcome and breaches New Zealand law.

“The Labour Inspectorate will not hesitate to take enforcement action against employers that breach the minimum employment standards and take advantage of migrant labour.

MBIE takes all minimum wage breaches seriously and employers can expect to face enforcement action if they refuse to comply with the law,” says Mr Straayer.

The ERA determination can be viewed here.

MBIE encourages anyone in this situation, or those who know of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.


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