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Dunedin pair to pay $11,500 for breaching employment law

Two Dunedin restaurant employers have been ordered to pay $11,500 by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

Following a Labour Inspectorate investigation, Hai Ung and Vuochhuor Ung, who operate the South Dunedin Curry House, have been penalised for failing to keep accurate wage, time and leave records.

Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Jeanie Borsboom says, “This employer was one of 41 businesses proactively visited by the Inspectorate in Dunedin in November 2017.  When questioned about why they did not have employment records, Mr Ung told the Labour Inspector he ‘forgot’.”

The employers were also visited previously by the Inspectorate in 2007 following a complaint from three employees and were found to have breached the Minimum Wage Act, failed to keep accurate records and did not have employment agreements.

At that time, arrears were recovered and Mr and Mrs Ung were provided with Employment New Zealand’s educational material to assist them with understanding their obligations as employers.

“The responsibility for keeping accurate wage, time and leave records is always on the employer, and there is no way around this. If the Inspectorate sees this happening through our proactive investigations, or investigations initiated through employee complaints, we will seek penalties.

“These employers had been in business for nearly 20 years and should be well aware of their obligations to all employees.

“We revisit businesses to ensure continued compliance with employment law, and Mr and Mrs Ung still failed to keep accurate records.

“This should send an obvious message to employers that where the Labour Inspectorate has visited your business, we expect to see continued compliance, and we will hold employers to account where this isn’t the case,” says Ms Borsboom.

Mr and Ms Ung have been placed on the employer Stand Down list for 18 months and will be prevented from hiring migrant workers for that time.

“This should also encourage consumers to think twice about whether employees are being treated fairly in their favourite restaurant or takeaway spot,” says Ms Borsboom.

MBIE encourages anyone who has information about minimum standards or visa conditions not being met to phone the Ministry’s service centre where calls will be handled in a confidential manner on 0800 20 90 20.