The Employment Relations Authority has upheld two claims for unjustified disadvantage by religious staff at a Sikh Temple in Auckland.  The staff were not paid the minimum wage, were not paid correctly under the Holidays Act and were not paid reimbursements for their travel, accommodation and vehicle expenses.

The ERA found that this was deliberate exploitation of the workers who were on work visas and were dependent on their employment by the Temple. 

One employee was ordered to be paid over $9,000 wage arrears, over $2,000 holiday pay arrears, almost $11,000 in travel, accommodation and vehicle expenses plus $10,000 compensation.  The other employee was ordered to be paid over $11,000 wage arrears, $2,400 in holiday pay, almost $11,000 in travel expenses and also $10,000 compensation.

In addition to the payments to the employees the Temple was fined $40,000 for its breaches of their employment agreements and failure to pay the minimum wage and holiday pay.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer