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

 

Southland Dairy Farmer “wilfully Blind” To Employment Obligations, Penalised $30k For Breaches

Southland dairy farmer Christoph Kenel was ordered by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to pay $30,000 in penalties for failing to comply with the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003.

Christoph Kenel operated Swiss Farm in Winton as a sole trader, employing multiple workers, including those on working holidays.

The Labour Inspectorate, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) investigated Mr Kenel in 2019 after receiving a complaint from a former employee about not receiving a written employment agreement and being paid less than the statutory minimum wage.

Mr Kenel did not keep holiday and leave records for any of his employees, and three employees did not receive final holiday pay on termination of their employment. At least one employee did not get paid time and a half or receive an alternative holiday for working on a public holiday. Due to inadequate holiday and leave records it was not possible to know the extent to which other employees did not receive their holiday and leave entitlements.

The Inspectorate found that of the seventeen people Mr Kenel employed between September 2018 and September 2019, only one had an employment agreement which they had supplied them self. Furthermore, the wages and time records lacked sufficient detail, which made it impossible to tell whether workers had been paid at least the minimum wage.

The ERA determination noted that record-keeping, as well as being a legal requirement, is “central to building productive employment relationships.”

The ERA determined the breaches were intentional and Mr Kenel “took no steps throughout his history as an employer in New Zealand to familiarise himself with his legal obligations” and was “wilfully blind.”

Labour Inspectorate dairy sector strategy lead Callum McMillan says the dairy farming industry is a focus area for the Labour Inspectorate.

“It’s not enough that employers take a passive approach to compliance with employment standards. Employers have a responsibility to get the basics right no matter how long they’ve been operating.

“The industry has taken some steps over the last few years by setting expectations and establishing assurance systems, and has support readily available for farmers on matters of employment. This makes it even more disappointing that there are still dairy farmers who are failing to get the minimum requirements right, and raises a question around the due diligence the industry has in place,” Mr McMillan says.

A free and easy to use Employment Agreement Builder tool is available on MBIE’s business.govt.nz website.

MBIE encourages anyone concerned about the employment situation of themselves or someone they know to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Reserve Bank: Ongoing Monetary Tightening
The Monetary Policy Committee today increased the Official Cash Rate (OCR) to 3 percent from 2.5 percent. The Committee agreed it remains appropriate to continue to tighten monetary conditions... More>>



Statistics: Weekly Earnings Rise As More In Full-time Employment

Median weekly earnings from wages and salaries rose by 8.8 percent to $1,189 in the year to the June 2022 quarter, Stats NZ said today... More>>



Bell Gully: Uncertainty Ahead With New Unconscionable Conduct Legislation

new prohibition against ‘unconscionable conduct’ in trade is one of a number of changes to the Fair Trading Act 1986 that come into force from 16 August 2022. The new prohibition may have wide-ranging implications for many businesses... More>>


Electricity Authority: Imposes Interim Restrictions On Very Large Electricity Contracts

Consumers of electricity will be protected from potentially paying more than they should due to the impact of very large electricity contracts on wholesale prices, under urgent changes announced today by the Electricity Authority... More>>


Westpac: Economic Overview, August 2022 – Pushing Through

The New Zealand economy faces some lean growth in the year ahead as households’ budgets are squeezed, according to Westpac’s latest Economic Overview... More>>


Kiwi Group Holdings: Fisher Funds Acquires Kiwi Wealth Business

Kiwi Group Holdings Limited (KGHL) today announced the sale of Kiwi Wealth to Fisher Funds for NZ$310 million... More>>