Two employees who worked in a Japanese Restaurant and resigned after they were not paid their wages and holiday pay have had their claims for payment upheld by the Employment Relations Authority.

The employer failed to appear before the ERA. The ERA stated that they had previously dealt with the employer in other employment disputes in which he had also failed to attend. The ERA noted that in a recent Employment Court decision involving the employer, the Court had spoken of the vulnerability of migrant workers and had noted that there were an increasing number of cases which involved employers failing to comply with the minimum standards of employment in relation to them.

The ERA awarded the first employee $2,280 for outstanding wages and over $4,300 for outstanding holiday pay.  The second employee was awarded $540 for outstanding wages and over $3,400 for outstanding holiday pay. Interest of 5 per cent was also ordered to be paid.

The ERA held that the employer had breached its statutory obligations which required them to pay holiday pay to their employees. The ERA felt that the employer should have a significant penalty imposed on them to serve as a warning to other employers. The ERA ordered the employer to pay $12,000 to the Crown.