Restauranteurs pay the price for law breach

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Wellington, December 9, 2018
Two Dunedin restaurant employers have been ordered to pay $11,500 by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
Following a Labour Inspectorate investigation, Hai Ung and Vuochhuor Ung, who operate the ‘South Dunedin Curry House,’ were penalised for failing to keep accurate wage, time and leave records.
Prior offence cited
Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Jeanie Borsboom said this employer was one of 41 businesses proactively visited by the Inspectorate in Dunedin in November 2017.
“When questioned about why they did not have employment records, Mr Ung told the Labour Inspector he ‘forgot.’ Our officials had visited them in 2007 following a complaint from three employees and that they were in breach of the Minimum Wage Act, failed to keep accurate records and did not have employment agreements,” she said.
At that time, the Inspectorate recovered the arrears and Mr and Mrs Ung were provided with Employment New Zealand’s educational material to assist them with understanding their obligations as employers.
Employers’ Responsibility
“The responsibility for keeping accurate wage, time and leave records is always on the employer, and there is no way around this. If the Inspectorate sees this happening through our proactive investigations, or investigations initiated through employee complaints, we will seek penalties. These employers had been in business for nearly 20 years and should be well aware of their obligations to all employees,” Ms Borsboom said.
She said that officials revisit businesses to ensure continued compliance with Employment Law, and that Mr and Mrs Ung had again failed to keep accurate records.
Compliance expected
“This should send an obvious message to employers that where the Labour Inspectorate has visited your business, we expect to see continued compliance, and we will hold employers to account where this isn’t the case,” Ms Borsboom said.
Mr and Ms Ung have been placed on the employer Stand Down list for 18 months and will be prevented from hiring migrant workers for that time.
“This should also encourage consumers to think twice about whether employees are being treated fairly in their favourite restaurant or takeaway spot,” Ms Borsboom said.

Source: Ministry of Business, Immigration & Employment
MBIE encourages anyone who has information about minimum standards or visa conditions not being met to phone the Ministry’s Service Centre on 0800-209020. Strict confidentiality of the callers is assured.

Photo Caption: Jeanie Borsboom
(Picture Courtesy: George Heard for Stuff)

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