The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay $7,200, and another person involved to pay $1,800, for failing to meet minimum employment standards.

The employer failed to provide adequate employment agreements to 87 employees. The employment agreements did not include mandatory requirements such as the name of the employer, how employment relationship issues would be resolved, or a provision for holiday pay.

The agreements also included a provision which stated there would be no guaranteed hours of work, which is not permitted under the Employment Relations Act 2000.

For one particular employee, their agreement stated that they were not entitled to an alternative day’s holiday for working on a public holiday, which is not permitted under the Holidays Act. Their contract also failed to provide a provision for the employee’s wages or salary.  

The Authority held that the employer had failed to accurately pay holiday pay and that this breached the Act. The employer was ordered to repay all holiday pay, totalling almost $8000.

The Authority determined the breaches of the Act were at the lower level of culpability, reducing the employer’s fine to $7800, from the starting point of $20,000.

Factors that mitigated the penalty included the fact that the employer had believed that they were complying with the law, and the employer fully complied with the requests of the Authority to rectify the situation. The employer had not acted to intentionally disadvantage any of its employees.

The Authority ordered the employer to pay $7,200 for its breaches of minimum standards, and the person involved in the breaches to pay $1,800.

There are important employment standards that must be met when hiring employees. If you are confused about your obligations as an employer, it pays to seek advice from a professional with knowledge in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors