13 Feb 2018

Payroll investigations skyrocket in the past 18 months

7:57 pm on 13 February 2018

The number of payroll investigations has jumped but the size of paybacks to staff has plummeted.

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Photo: 123rf

A total of 91 employers were investigated and found breaching payroll laws in the 18 months to last October.

In the previous four years there were 20 investigations.

However, the average arrears that employers have paid has dropped at the top end from $1800 per worker to just $700.

In the latest period, that amounted to about $900,000 paid back to 7200 workers across the country.

In 26 of the 91 cases, there hasn't been any enforcement action yet as the Labour Inspectorate discusses what to do with the employer who is in breach.

The figures do not cover the Police Force, which has already paid out $39 million after payroll breaches.

The police "have more payments to come as they await the implementation of their new compliant payroll system", the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said.

The ministry, which houses the Labour Inspectorate, has itself set aside $10m to cover its own payroll breaches, and the bill is likely to go higher.

It is now trying to find a replacement for its 20-year-old payroll system.

A ministry response under the Official Information Act showed it will ask Cabinet for approval once it has full tender prices in, with the cost factored into this year's Budget.