The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has ordered a company director to personally pay a worker $75,000 in unpaid wages, plus pay a $50,000 penalty.

The company which employed the worker had consistently underpaid the employee over 3 years. The employee was working 60-70 hours per week, but was only being paid for 36 hours per week.

The company had been placed into liquidation following the complaint of underpayment, but that did not save the director from being held personally liable. A director who is involved in the failures to pay minimum entitlements can be held personally liable if the employing company does not pay.

The ERA held that the employer exploited the worker’s vulnerable position over an extended period of time and so the director was fined $50,000 on top of the underpaid wages.

Employers must pay their staff their entitlements and a failure to do so will be treated very seriously.