$57,000 fine for migrant worker employment breaches

The owners of three superettes have been ordered by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to pay $57,000 in penalties for employment law breaches.

Those liable for the penalties include the director, Balwinder Singh, and his wife Jaswinder Kaur, who have being ordered to pay $15,000 and $5,000, respectively.

The fine is on top of $90,000 the companies – Saloni Enterprises Limited, Saloni Holdings Limited, and B Enterprises Limited – had previously been ordered to pay in wage and holiday pay arrears to two former employees. These arrears have now been paid.

The companies failed to provide the minimum wage, annual holidays, public holidays and alternative holidays to the two former employees. The breaches also included failure to keep and maintain compliant wages, time, holiday and leave records as well as failure to provide an employment agreement.

“The director tried to undermine our investigation by providing false information and denying the allegations. But the truth came out in the end,” says Loua Ward, Regional Manager Labour Inspectorate.

“The ERA noted that these were some of the most serious conceivable breaches, and that they were intentional.”

The two former employees affected had relied on the employers’ support with regards to their immigration status.

“The employers took advantage of their employees’ vulnerable position as migrant workers. They breached legal requirements which are in place to make sure all workers in New Zealand are treated fairly.”

As well as the penalties mentioned, the companies involved now face a stand-down period of 24 months from the ability to support a visa application.

The Labour Inspectorate encourages anyone concerned about their employment situation or the situation of someone they know, to phone the Ministry’s service centre on 0800 20 90 20 where concerns are handled in a safe environment.