Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Wellington, April 23, 2017
An Auckland grocer has been penalised $12,000 by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) after a Labour Inspectorate investigation uncovered attempts to charge a migrant worker a premium.
“Employers who exploit vulnerable workers by making them pay premiums in exchange for a job breach New Zealand law, and it will not be tolerated,” Labour Inspectorate regional manager Loua Ward said.
“This practice takes advantage of migrants who may not be aware of all their rights and entitlements in New Zealand, or may not feel like they have any other option.”
Raw N Fresh Limited and its director Amardeep Singh, who had traded as both ‘Drury Lane Fruit and Vegies’ and ‘Waiuku Fruit and Veges’, demanded the newly employed shop manager pay $20,000, then reduced their demand to $18,000, in exchange for supporting the employee’s visas.
Both times the employee refused to make the payments sought by Mr Singh, choosing instead to leave his job at Raw N Fresh Limited and report the matter to the Labour Inspectorate.
“We understand it can be difficult for employees to come forward and raise concerns about the way they are being treated by an employer.
“The Labour Inspectorate takes these matters very seriously and is part of an all-of-government approach to combatting migrant exploitation in its various forms.”
Half of the $12,000 penalty is to go to the employee. You can read the full ERA decision online.
The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.