Further penalities for breaches of Minimum Employment Standards

General / 25 April 2017
Further penalities for breaches of Minimum Employment Standards

Copeland Ashcroft recently wrote about the changes to legislation in 2016 which have seen an increase in penalties sought by the Labour Inspectorate for breaches of minimum employment standards.

The Minister of Immigration recently announced increased punitive consequences for employers recruiting migrant workers who breach these minimum standards.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) have identified migrant workers as a vulnerable class of employee and will, through the Labour Inspectorate, team up with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to work together to reduce the exploitation of workers through employers breaching the minimum standards such as paying less than the minimum wage.

The Labour Inspectorate will be responsible for maintaining and providing a list to INZ of those employers who have breached the minimum standards and employers who meet the threshold for non-compliance will be subject to a stand down period before being able to hire migrant workers again.  The stand-down period will vary from six months for penalties up to and including $1000 and 24 months for penalties of $50,000 and above.  Employers who are taken to the Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court independent of the Labour Inspectorate will also be subject to these stand-down periods.

Migrant workers employed by employers who become subject to the stand-down periods do not have to be concerned in the immediate.  They will be able to work out the duration of their work visa, but will be required to find an alternative employer if they need a further visa prior to the stand-down period expiring.

What does it mean for Employers?
It is critical that employers take minimum employment standards seriously and that you seek advice where a Labour Inspectorate makes allegations.  If you are unsure what these standards mean for you, or how to comply with them, please contact us.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.
April 2017

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