$7K fine for employer with missing records

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A recent Employment Relations Authority case is reinforcing the importance of keeping adequate employment records after one business was fined $7,000 for falling short.

Hawera restaurant Indian Zaika was hit the four-figure penalty after it failed to provide evidence of compliant wage, time, holiday and leave records to an inspector from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Initially, an inspector held discussions with shareholder Menisha Walia regarding the requirements for keeping records and practical guidance was given along with an improvement notice.

However, despite five requests over 16 months, the South Taranaki company still couldn’t produce the appropriate records or prove compliance with the improvement notice.

In its judgement, the authority said the company’s failure to provide the documents was serious, ongoing and deliberate – it had also undermined the inspector's ability to evaluate whether Indian Zaika employees were receiving the minimum legal entitlements.

"Without accurate records, employers are unable to demonstrate they are providing employees with their minimum entitlements," scolded labour inspectorate central regional manager Natalie Gardiner.

"Employers are required by law to produce employment records when requested by a labour inspector,” she added. “This ruling sends a clear message to employers that failure to do so will not be tolerated.”

The new employment standards legislation that came into force on 1 April 2016 reinforces employer obligations to keep accurate employment records.

The law requires employers to be able to produce records for the number of hours worked by employees each day in a pay period, and the pay for those hours – the information must be recorded in an easily accessible format and made available on request from an employee or from a labour inspector.

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