• Compliance by employers with minimum employment standards is a serious concern for the Labour Inspectorate.
  • Penalties for non-compliance can be up to $100,000 (for a company) and even more for financial gain, plus the risk of negative publicity and hiring bans.

Employers are being warned about the importance and consequences of meeting their minimum employment standards obligations. The Labour Inspectorate is active in enforcing these obligations.

Stu Lumsden, National Manager Labour Inspectorate MBIE says, “Breaches of employees’ rights won’t be tolerated in New Zealand. Employers who fail to meet their minimum legal obligations are warned they are likely to be investigated and if breaches are found they will be followed up with enforcement action.

“In the most serious cases the potential penalties, arrears orders and hiring bans could effectively lead to a non-compliant employer to go out of business.

“In the media, we regularly see serious cases of some migrant employees being exploited in their jobs, leading to issues such as unpaid wages and leave, and unfair dismissals. Unfortunately, we also regularly see some migrant employers exploiting staff who are often members of their own community.

“While most employers are fair there is clearly a need to keep strict compliance, including in migrant communities.”

The Employment New Zealand website provides a full range of free resources for both employees and employers. Go to www.employment.govt.nz and enter key words “minimum rights of employees”. The resources include quick guides and publications in more than 10 translated languages.

“Current and future employers and employees will benefit from using the resources to identify and resolve issues early, before they become problems. In particular, an ongoing issue for businesses is keeping proper records,” says Stu.

Penalties for non-compliance can be up to $100,000 (for a company) and even more for examples of an employer’s financial gain, plus the risk of negative publicity. Serious breaches of the law are published in the news.

To contact Employment New Zealand:

Visit: www.employment.govt.nz

For information on record keeping enter "keeping accurate records".

For details of non- compliant employers in the news enter “news”.

Phone: 0800 20 90 20 toll-free. A free interpreting service is available.