Some accredited employers to be put on standdown list, officials warn
Some employers in New Zealand will be receiving infringement notices after the Labour Inspectorate found high levels of non-compliance during a large-scale inspection across Auckland.
“We expect between 12 and 15 infringement notices will be issued which could lead to some accredited employers being placed on the standdown list,” said Simon Humphries, Head of Compliance and Enforcement, Labour Inspectorate, in a statement.
Among the breaches the Labour Inspectorate uncovered include:
- Wages below the minimum wage rate being paid
- No employment contracts for employees
- Inadequate or no record keeping
- Employee holiday and leave entitlements being withheld
- Breaches of visa conditions
- Employers demanding money from employees
“Some of the businesses were found to be non-compliant with lower-level breaches such a poor recordkeeping,” Humphries said. “However, there were also other instances where we were disappointed to find serious breaches in minimum employment standards.”
According to the official, enforcement action will be taken against businesses that committed “deliberate non-compliance and exploitative practices.”
The breaches were uncovered during a three-day operation carried out by the Labour Inspectorate, along with the Immigration Compliance and Investigations, among 85 businesses across Auckland.
The inspection came after officials received formal complaints against retail and hospitality businesses across the city.
“We take migrant exploitation seriously. This operation is a tangible example of that commitment to follow up on alleged breaches of minimum employment standards and exploitative practices,” Humphries said.
According to the official, their intent was to educate and hold accountable the employers who have been deliberately exploiting migrants.
“Our focus was on ensuring employers were complying with minimum employment standards by paying people the right minimum wage, holiday pay, leave entitlements and maintaining proper record keeping practices,” he said.
The operation is also part of the government’s bigger strategy to maintain compliance through educational and information-focused approach. This will boost the knowledge of employers on employment law and improve compliance and awareness of the Labour Inspectorate.
The New Zealand government has been advocating for further protection for migrant workers. Previously, they introduced the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill in a bid to crack down on employer non-compliance.