If an employer fails to provide the employees with written employment agreements, fails to keep holiday and leave records or fails to keep time and wage records, the employer can be ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay a penalty. In a recent case the penalty for those breaches was $25,000.

If you believe that your minimum employment entitlements are being breached, you should discuss your concerns with your employer in the first instance, so that they can have the opportunity to rectify any breach. If your employer fails to respond to, or address, your concerns you can engage a legal representative to assist you or you can contact a Labour Inspector by calling the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 20 90 20.

A lawyer can seek copies of your employment records from the employer, including wage and leave records, so you, and they, can check if you have been correctly paid or given your correct leave etc. A failure to provide the records can be penalised by the Employment Relations Authority and a lawyer can assist you with making a claim to the ERA.

Labour Inspectors also have powers to get the records. A Labour Inspector can enter a workplace at any reasonable hour and   interview any employee or employer, ask to see and take copies of wages and time records, holiday and leave records, employment agreements and any other relevant document which the Labour Inspector believes may assist their investigations.

If an employer fails to comply with any requirement of a Labour Inspector, or if they obstruct, delay, hinder, or deceive any Labour Inspector, the Labour Inspector may bring an action in the Employment Relations Authority against them for a penalty.

If an employer is found to have breached an employee’s minimum standards of employment, the Labour Inspector may:

  • Agree to an enforceable undertaking which is a written agreement with an employer to rectify a breach, or pay money owed to an employee, or take any other action that the Labour Inspector considers appropriate, by a specified date.
  • Issue an improvement notice that requires the employer to remedy any breaches as set out in the notice by a specified date.
  • Issue a demand notice when a Labour Inspector reasonably believes that an employee has not received wages or holiday pay or other money payable to them, within the last 6 years.
  • Issue an infringement notice where an employer has breached their record-keeping obligations (including their obligation to keep a signed copy of their employee’s employment agreement).  The notice must set out the amount of the infringement fee which can be up to $1,000 for each offence to a maximum of $20,000 in any 3 month period.
  • Take action against the employer in the Employment Relations Authority. A Labour Inspector can request that the Employment Relations Authority penalises an employer or can seek the recovery of wages or other money owed to an employee as a result of any breach of an employee’s minimum standards of employment.

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.