Unfair wage docking companies condemned as “rogue employers”

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has advised employers that apologies and reimbursement is owed to employees who have been held liable for customer theft in recent years following another case of unfair wage docking.

Unfair wage docking companies condemned as “rogue employers”
Owners of two supermarkets in Whakatane have apologised to employees whose wages were illegally or inappropriately docked, offering to reimburse the lost wages.
The employers did this via telephone, calling employees of Pak ‘n Save and New World employees following criticism of wage docking from parent company Foodstuffs.

George Mason, labour inspectorate general manager of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said that companies that wish to protect their brand’s reputation should follow suit.

“[Companies should] take leadership and own this problem,” he said.

Companies who fail to protect their workers’ rights and conform to workplace laws were condemned in parliament this week by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway, who referred to such organisations as “rogue employers”.

The Dominion Post reported that employees were docked up to $700, being told that they were liable for losses from shoplifting.

Another worker, who is currently employed by the company, was allegedly told that she would be reimbursed – if she kept the docking quiet.

She said that her employer has since called to apologise and offer reimbursement, which is reportedly what the supermarket operator has done for any employee whose wages were docked over the past six years.

However, the employee in question reportedly told The Dominion Post that she believes her employer is “only doing it because the media are on to him.”

Mason said this week that the MBIE would take action against the organisation if it failed to deal with this issue.

HRM previously spoke to Bridget Smith, a member of Auckland District law society, about these issues. She clarified that although the Wages Protection Act dictates that deductions can be made with employee consent, the employee is free to withdraw their consent from such a clause if it has been incorporated into their employment agreement.

Related article:
New Zealand company under fire for docking wages after “drive offs”

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