Keep records or face fines - employers warned after recent ERA cases
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reminded employers today about their obligations to keep accurate employment records and produce them when requested by a Labour Inspector – or face enforcement action and penalties.
The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate resolved 332 cases with breaches in time and wage or leave records in 2014. Of those cases, 130 were in agriculture, forestry and fishing, 83 in accommodation and food services and 38 in retail trade.
“Accurate time, wage and leave recordkeeping is not just a legal requirement. It’s necessary for employers to know what their workers are doing, what they are being paid and to ensure the business runs efficiently. It’s the only way employers can show they’re providing workers with their minimum entitlements such as wage and holiday pay,” says George Mason, Labour Inspectorate General Manager.
The Employment Relations and the Holidays Acts also require employers to retain employment records and produce them upon request by a Labour Inspector. “A number of recent cases investigated by the Inspectorate show that some employers still fail to meet these basic obligations and are faced with the consequences,” says Mr Mason.
Recent examples include a Wellington commercial cleaning company, Dentice Facilities Management Ltd. The company was ordered to pay $7,500 in fines by the Employment Relations Authority after failing to provide wage and time records when requested by a Labour Inspector. They were also ordered to pay $4,300 in outstanding holiday pay and interest to a former employee.
Peniel Construction Ltd. in Christchurch was awarded a $6,500 fine for failure to provide records on request. Tamehana Horticulture Service Ltd. in Tauranga was fined $6,000 for similar breaches. “The Labour Inspectorate takes breaches of employment law very seriously. These will be subject to compliance action and potentially 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,” says Mr Mason.