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Hawke's Bay contractor fined $6000 for employment law breaches

A Hastings business supplying workers to local orchards must pay $6567.42 after failing to provide written employment agreements or maintain wage, time, holiday and leave records for its 15 employees.

MD Dara Miah Horticulture Limited and its sole director, Mohammed Dara Miah, were ordered to pay a $6000 penalty and $567.42 in costs by the Employment Relations Authority.

The Labour Inspectorate took MD Dara Miah Horticulture Limited to the authority after Mr Miah failed to produce employment records for a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Labour Inspector during a visit last December.

“Without maintaining proper records employers are unable to demonstrate they are providing employees with their minimum employment entitlements, such as minimum wage,” says Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Wellington Kevin Finnegan.

“While we acknowledge ignorance of his obligations as an employer played a part in his offending, Mr Miah had the ability to access professional advice and it is disappointing that it took a visit from the Inspectorate before he was motivated to do so.

“It is simply not good enough for employers to sit and wait until they are caught out before taking action to meet their obligation as an employer to maintain employment records.

“This decision sends a strong message to employers that failure to maintain employment records will not be tolerated.”

Read the ERA determination (external link)

Employment law requires employers to be able to produce records for the number of hours worked by employees each day in a pay period, and the pay for those hours.

The information must be recorded in an easily accessible format and made available on request from an employee or from a Labour Inspector.

For employees who work regular hours each day for regular pay, to which they already agreed to with the employer, a statement of what the regular hours and pay is all that is needed to comply. It could be set out in the employment agreement, for example.

Changes to the Employment Relations Act which came into force on 1 April 2016 mean Labour Inspectors can issue an employer an Infringement Notice of $1000 per charge, per employee, up to a maximum of $20,000 for failing to keep employment records.

More information on recording pay details for both wage and salaried employees is available under Keeping accurate records.

MBIE encourages anyone who believes their employer is in breach of employment law to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.