The Employment Relations Authority has found an employer in breach for a delay in handing over its employment records and has ordered it to pay a fine. The case involved two cleaning companies. One company won a cleaning contract and the employees of the old employer had the option to transfer to the new employer as protected employees.

The old employer was obliged to hand over all employment records it had to keep to the new employer. It failed to hand over all the records it was obliged to, until several weeks after the new employer had taken on the employees. The records it should have handed over included the employment agreements, 6 years of wage, time and holiday records, plus disciplinary and personal grievance records.

The ERA found that the delay was a breach of the act and was significantly serious. The maximum fine it could impose was $20,000 and it decided that $15,000 was an appropriate starting point. However, after taking all mitigating factors into account, it ordered only a $1000 fine. That money to be paid to the Crown, not the other company (although it will have to pay the other company legal costs for the case, which will far exceed the penalty imposed).

A failure to, appreciate its obligations in this case has resulted in a huge investment of time and money which by far exceed what should have been required if it had just handed over the records on time. If you are unsure of your obligations it pays to take advice from a professional experienced in the area.

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