Two companies have been penalised over $87,000 after paying a 19 year old migrant worker $4 an hour. The employee worked for 14 months before contacting the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) who immediately referred the matter to a Labour Inspector.

The Employment Relations Authority found that the employers failed to pay the employee the minimum wage, holiday pay, and failed to provide him with a written employment agreement, and failed to keep accurate time and wage records.

The ERA ordered the employers to pay the employee over $45,300 in wage and holiday pay arrears, and $42,000 in penalties. The employee personally received $22,000 of the penalties awarded.

The ERA noted that the award acts as a deterrent to other employers who may be tempted to employ staff under the table.