An employer has been ordered to pay $100,000 after it breached the Holidays Act and the Minimum Wage Act.

The employer failed to pay seven employees at the minimum wage, failed to pay employees for work on public holidays, and failed to pay out an employee’s holiday pay at the end of their employment.

In addition to the $100,000 penalty, the employer had agreed to, and was in the process of, paying $96,500 in wage arrears to the employees.

This was not the first time that the employer had been investigated for behaviour of this type.

While the behaviour in this case was intentional, it should be noted that an employer is still responsible (and in breach) if under-payment of minimum entitlements occur inadvertently. 

The rules

Minimum wage – the minimum wage from (1 April 2019) is $17.70 per hour.  This is set to increase in 2020 and 2021, however, these changes are subject to the Government’s yearly review.

Public holidays – if an employee works on a public holiday they should be paid at least time and a half, as well as receive a day in lieu (also known as an alternative holiday).
If a public holiday falls on an ordinary day of work for the employee, but he or she does not work, they are entitled to be paid for that day (a paid day off).

Holiday pay – an employee is entitled to at least four weeks paid leave (also known as annual leave) after they have worked for twelve months in continuous employment with the employer.

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