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Serious employment breaches found in Marlborough vineyards

A joint operation between the Labour Inspectorate, Immigration New Zealand and Inland Revenue in Marlborough vineyards found contractors committing serious breaches of employment standards.

A joint operation between the Labour Inspectorate, Immigration New Zealand and Inland Revenue in Marlborough vineyards found contractors committing serious breaches of employment standards.

Of the 10 independent contractors visited, two were breaching minimum wage, holiday pay, and record keeping requirements, with another seven asked to supply additional records.

“With only one contractor found to be compliant, it shows the industry needs to start taking action to ensure the contractors they’re using are meeting employment standards,” says Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Kevin Finnegan.

“Minimum employment standards are basic requirements all employers need to fulfil – it’s simply unacceptable to fail to pay minimum wage, holiday pay, or keep up to date records of employees.

“By engaging with contractors who choose to ignore employment standards, the New Zealand wine industry is exposing themselves to reputational damage.

“We want the industry to take some ownership of the issue and show they are taking it seriously. This includes seeking assurances from their contractors that all minimum employment standards are being met.

“We take these kinds of breaches very seriously, and will be continuing to work with other agencies to target problem sectors to ensure at-risk workers across New Zealand receive their minimum employment entitlements.”

Nine contractors from the Regional Seasonal Employee (RSE) scheme were also visited, with all nine found to be compliant with employment standards.

The two independent contractors found in breach were Double Seven Services Ltd and Vinestrength Ltd.

Employers who breach employment law are subject to enforcement action which can include penalties of up to $50,000 for individuals and up to $100,000 or three times the financial gain for companies.

MBIE 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.