An official has called the case “really disappointing” after the employer was found to have committed serious employment breaches.
Food City Limited – which operates out of the Northcote Shopping Centre – was ordered to pay a total of $164,397 in fines and reparations after it forced cleaners to work an additional 20 hours per week without any extra pay.
"Taking advantage of employees is never acceptable, particularly vulnerable workers such as the migrants in this case, who were older, did not speak English, and were unaware of their rights and entitlements in New Zealand,” said Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment also found evidence of long running non-compliance when it came to sick leave and holiday pay as well as a number of other issues.
"It’s really disappointing to see this level of non-compliance where the employer has just completely failed to meet the clear expectations set out in New Zealand’s employment law," said Milne.
"Pleading ignorance is no excuse – providing employees with at least the minimum wage, holiday pay, and written employment agreements are basic obligations which we expect every employer in New Zealand to meet."
Member of the authority Anna Fitzgibbon ordered the company to pay a $37,500 penalty for the serious breaches of employment law in addition to $126,897 in wage arrears to the workers.
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