14 Jun 2017

Farm owners fined $21k for under-paying migrant workers

1:51 pm on 14 June 2017

A West Coast dairy farm has been ordered to pay $21,000 for breaching the employment rights of two migrant workers.

The Labour Inspectorate said Hari Hari-based White Developments Ltd had failed to pay minimum wage or holiday pay, provide employment agreements, or keep wage, time, holiday or leave records.

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The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) fined the company $16,000 and ordered it to pay $5000 in arrears to the two workers.

In addition to the penalties, White Developments will be placed on a stand down period of 12 months, restricting their access to migrant labour.

The Labour Inspectorate said it had issued a notice in March last year giving the farm until the following month to pay the two employees what they were owed and fix their employment practices, and subsequently gave them more time to meet the conditions.

On 30 June 2016 the inspectorate lodged an application at the ERA, saying White Developments had failed to produce any evidence of the arrears being paid or of compliance with their minimum employment obligations.

"It doesn't matter whether you're in Bluff, Cape Reinga, Westport or anywhere in between - every employer in New Zealand must provide their employees with at least the minimum wage for every hour worked," said Labour Inspectorate regional manager Natalie Gardiner.