21 Aug 2013

Dairy employment practices examined in Southland

6:37 am on 21 August 2013

Dairy farmers in Southland will have their employment practices examined as labour inspectors carry out a region-wide operation.

The inspections are the first step in a nationwide operation, with inspectors on the look out for farmers breaching the law. That includes farmers who average out their workers' pay across the season, and those who aren't keeping proper time and wage records.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Wellington regional manager Steve Watson said they are making sure dairy farmers in Southland are paying their employees the minimum wage and have employment agreements in place.

"The dairy sector traditionally has been where we've uncovered incidents of seasonal averaging," Mr Watson said.

"The nature of dairy farming, with its high seasonal fluctuations, makes it an area where this can occur."

New Zealand's reputation as a fair place to work is important to maintain, and anyone aware of dairy farmers taking advantage of their employees should get in touch with the ministry, he said.

Southland was chosen to launch the operation due to the high number of the dairy farms in the region and the demographics of the people working on them.