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


Health bodies fail to detect serious employment law breaches

18 April 2019

An Auckland pharmacy group penalised for underpaying employees by more than $255,000, has highlighted a hole in the auditing processes within the health sector when it comes to safeguarding the labour standards of employees.

The Employment Relations Authority has determined against seven pharmacies, resulting in penalties of nearly $92,500 between them for underpaying employees over $107,000. The pharmacies also paid employees a further $147,600 in arrears. This highlights a hole in the auditing processes in the health sector when it comes to safeguarding the labour standards of employees. Those pharmacies belonged to a consortium of companies formerly known as Nirvana Health Group.

The determination followed a 2017 Labour Inspectorate investigation which found 12 migrant trainee pharmacy technicians, on agreement from the Open Polytechnic to study and work at the pharmacies, received an equivalent hourly rate below the minimum wage.

“This determination found against seven pharmacies, all of which should have had their minimum employment standards firmly in place from the top down. It is disappointing to see pharmacies who are funded through Pharmac, District Health Boards, the Ministry of Health, and ACC failing to meet basic labour rights in such a serious way. This raises questions about the funding, quality management, and risk management systems in the sector,” says Labour Inspectorate National Manager, Stu Lumsden.

“We are calling on all large businesses and organisations to take another look at their quality management and risk management processes to make sure that labour rights considerations are being covered. Minimum employment standards are a legal requirement. Auditing for this compliance is in the best interests of a business’s overall sustainability and everyone involved in it,” Mr Lumsden says.

Employment Services has guidance for both employers and employees on employment rights and obligations. Anyone who has information about minimum standards not being met, are advised to phone 0800 20 90 20, where all concerns will be handled in a safe environment.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Up 0.5% In June Quarter: Services Lead GDP Growth

“Service industries, which represent about two-thirds of the economy, were the main contributor to GDP growth in the quarter, rising 0.7 percent off the back of a subdued result in the March 2019 quarter.” More>>


Pickers: Letter To Immigration Minister From Early Harvesting Growers

A group of horticultural growers are frustrated by many months of inaction by the Minister who has failed to announce additional immigrant workers from overseas will be allowed into New Zealand to assist with harvesting early stage crops such as asparagus and strawberries. More>>


Non-Giant Fossil Disoveries: Scientists Discover One Of World’s Oldest Bird Species

At 62 million-years-old, the newly-discovered Protodontopteryx ruthae, is one of the oldest named bird species in the world. It lived in New Zealand soon after the dinosaurs died out. More>>

Rural Employers Keen, Migrants Iffy: Employment Visa Changes Announced

“We are committed to ensuring that businesses are able to get the workers they need to fill critical skills shortages, while encouraging employers and regions to work together on long term workforce planning including supporting New Zealanders with the training they need to fill the gaps,” says Iain Lees-Galloway. More>>


Marsden Pipeline Rupture: Report Calls For Supply Improvements, Backs Digger Blame

The report makes several recommendations on how the sector can better prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from an incident. In particular, we consider it essential that government and industry work together to put in place and regularly practise sector-wide response plans, to improve the response to any future incident… More>>