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Queenstown restaurant penalised for failure to keep records

Yong’s Food Company Ltd operating Hikari Japanese Restaurant in Queenstown was ordered to pay $6,000 in penalties for failure to keep employment records required by law after an investigation.

The MBIE’s Labour Inspectorate brought the case before the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) after an audit to check for compliance with employment laws.

Labour Inspectorate’s Southern Regional Manager Stuart Lumsden says an investigation showed the employer did not keep complete time, holiday and leave records for employees.

“The restaurant predominantly employs migrant workers that are a particularly vulnerable section of the workforce. Without accurate employment records it’s impossible for the employer to show they are providing workers with their minimum entitlements like minimum wage and holiday pay,” says Mr Lumsden.

The ERA determination states the employer argued he wasn’t aware of the legal requirements due to English not being his first language, but Mr Lumsden says ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

“Failure to comply with the minimum employment standards will not be tolerated. Employers who breach the employment law will be subject to enforcement action which can include penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies.”

The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.