The Employment Relations Authority has ordered an employer to pay over $44,000 for poor employment practices and exploiting an employee.

The employee worked for the employer under an employment agreement. The agreement said that the employee would work at least 40 hours per week, but no more than 50 without agreement.

The employee regularly worked 75 hours per week under pressure from the employer. The employee was also required to pay money back to the employer for costs associated with their visa.

The employee met with a labour inspector who carried out an investigation and made a claim against the employer.

The Authority held that the employer did pressure the employee into working significantly more hours than in their employment agreement.

Additionally, the Authority agreed that the employer failed to keep adequate time records and required to employee to pay money back for their visa.

The Authority ordered the employer to pay the employee $25,323 wage arrears, $1,926 annual leave arrears, $482 holiday pay, and $743 alternative holiday pay. The employer was also ordered to pay a penalty of $18,000 to the Labour Inspector for the other breaches.

It is important that employers adhere to their legal obligations in their employment relationships with employees. Employers that are found to be exploiting their employees are likely to face prosecution and potentially expensive penalties.

If you as an employer are unsure of your obligations, or there are concerns that an employer is failing to provide you with your minimum entitlements as an employee, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced 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.