New Zealand Law Society - Tougher penalties for employment law breaches

Tougher penalties for employment law breaches

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The Employment Relations Authority has ordered Just Kebab Ltd of Rotorua to pay a $40,000 penalty plus $33,661 in arrears to an employee for its failure to pay minimum wage, holiday pay, or keep accurate employment records.

The employee receives half of the penalty.

The decision in Labour Inspector v Just Kebab Ltd [2016] NZERA Auckland 383 followed that by a full bench of the Employment Court in Labour Inspector v Preet Pvt Ltd [2016] NZEmpC 143 where the Court considered the approach to be taken by the ERA and the Court when considering penalties for breaches of minimum employment entitlements.

A statement from the Labour Inspectorate General Manager George Mason says the recent Employment Court decision upholds the Inspectorate’s position that where there are multiple, sustained and serious breaches, employers should receive penalties that reflect the gravity of their actions.

"It is not acceptable for workers to come to New Zealand to seek a better life, and then be under paid, over worked, and deprived of their most basic rights as employees in this country," he says.

“The Employment Court’s decision should serve as a warning to any employer who is breaking the law that these kinds of breaches will be highly penalised. The Labour Inspectorate takes breaches of employment standards very seriously."