Bay of Plenty business fined $12k for 'failing' employees

A Bay of Plenty business which failed to provide basic employment rights has been fined $12,000. Photo/file
A Bay of Plenty business which failed to provide basic employment rights has been fined $12,000. Photo/file

A Bay of Plenty business which failed to provide basic employment rights has been fined $12,000.

A Labour Inspectorate investigation has found Ahead Limited, a business that provides labour to kiwifruit businesses, made several breaches to employment law.

Ahead failed to provide its staff with individual employment agreements and pay holiday entitlements as well as keep full and accurate time, wage and leave records.

Labour Inspectorate regional manager Kevin Finnegan said Ahead left their staff out of pocket by not having the systems in place to provide their employees with their basic employment rights.

"Ahead failed to communicate and engage during the investigation process, despite having received previous education on employment law from the Inspectorate in 2010.

"Employers need to take their employees basic entitlements seriously. Ahead is an example where this wasn't the case. If businesses are prepared to cut corners, they should expect to be made accountable."

Ahead put their lack of engagement down to administrative shortcomings, however this has not been a factor in the Employment Relations Authority's decision to penalise the business.

"For a company of any size, reputation should always be front of mind. Practices like this will affect a business long after penalties have been paid," Finnegan said.

"This also calls for a reminder to those that use labour hire businesses to question whether employees are well looked after, and receiving what they're entitled to."

The Labour Inspectorate works to ensure all employees in New Zealand are treated fairly and that non-compliant businesses don't have to compete with those who are not.

There are a range of tools available to ensure employers are compliant, such as employment.govt.nz, Business.govt.nz's Employment Agreement Builder and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's (MBIE) service centre.

MBIE encourages anyone who has information about minimum standards not being met to phone the Ministry's service centre on 0800 20 90 20, where all concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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