A prominent Chinese New Zealand newspaper must pay more than $140,000 for employment breaches following a Labour Inspectorate investigation.
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ordered Educasia Media Limited, which trades as Asia Pacific Times, to pay $87,148 in arrears and $54,000 in penalties.
The investigation found the employer failed to provide minimum wage, correct holiday pay, keep wage, time, holiday or leave records, and demanded a premium for employment.
“These are significant breaches of New Zealand employment law, including some of their employees’ most basic rights,” says Labour Inspectorate regional manager Natalie Gardiner.
“Not only did the employer not pay minimum wage and holiday pay, they further sought to exploit the vulnerable position of one of their workers by demanding a $50,000 premium in return for employment.
“This is completely unlawful – both the Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand are committed to working together along with our migrant communities to eliminate this exploitative practice.
“Anyone who is found to be demanding their employees pay for employment will be made to return this money, and will have penalties sought against them.”
The worker who paid a premium was also required to pay her own wages for the duration of her employment.
The ERA found three employees of Educasia Media Limited, all Chinese nationals, were underpaid more than $30,000 in minimum wage and $6,000 in holiday pay.
Of the $54,000 in penalties $28,800 is to be awarded directly to the affected employees.
As a result of these penalties Educasia Media Limited will be placed on the stand down list, preventing them from sponsoring new visas to recruit migrant labour for two years.
The sole shareholder and managing director of Educasia Media Limited is Zhishen (Oscar) Cui.
Information on minimum employment entitlements is available on www.employment.govt.nz (external link) in 14 languages for the benefit of employers and employees.
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.