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Pay your people their entitlements this Christmas - Labour Inspectorate

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Labour Inspectorate says businesses should learn from the case of an Auckland restaurant penalised in the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), and pay employees properly this Christmas.

New Lucky Star was ordered to pay $20,000 in penalties and $2,700 in arrears, having been caught by the Inspectorate failing to pay 10 employees time and a half for working public holidays.

This was the second time the Papatoetoe-based restaurant had been found committing these breaches, with an improvement notice issued by a labour inspector to the business in 2015.

Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne said the Inspectorate was pleased with the penalty, particularly with the restaurant having slipped backwards into non-compliance.

"The Labour Inspectorate stands for fair workplaces and fair competition, and will not tolerate businesses failing to provide employees with at least their minimum entitlements.

"Ultimately this employer’s breaches left employees working hard to sustain the business out of pocket, meaning they’ve had less to take home and put under their tree this year.

"This case should provide a good reminder for businesses during the coming holidays of their obligations, and that being a Christmas Grinch when it comes to entitlements can prove costly."

Along with not paying time and half for public holidays, New Lucky Star and its directors Mr Tony Ping Kwan Kwok and Mr Yam Ching Wong failed to keep compliant holiday and leave records.

The ERA acknowledged that while the employer had not been driven by a wish to prevent employees being treated fairly, ultimately this was occurring as a consequence of their breaches.

New Lucky Star had now repaid all arrears owed, which were $2700, with the employer having paid a day off at the employees’ normal rate instead of time and a half during their non-compliance.

"There is a large amount of support and information out there to help businesses get this right, whether they call us, go to employment.govt.nz, or talk to their local industry association."

MBIE encourages anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, to call 0800 20 90 20 where they can report their concerns in a safe environment.

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