Are your employee records up to date?

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Yesterday, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reminded employers about their obligations to keep accurate employment records, and to produce them when requested to by an inspector – or face enforcement action and penalties.

Last year, 332 cases involving breaches in time, wage or leave records were resolved by the MBIE’s Labour Inspectorate.

Of those cases, 130 were in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, 83 were in accommodation and food services, and 38 were in retail trade.

“Accurate time, wage and leave recordkeeping is not just a legal requirement,” said George Mason, Labour Inspectorate general manager.

“It’s necessary for employers to know what their workers are doing, what they are being paid and to ensure the business runs efficiently. It’s the only way employers can show they’re providing workers with their minimum entitlements such as wage and holiday pay.”

Under the Employment Relations Act, and the Holidays Act, employers are also required to retain employment records and produce them upon request by a Labour Inspector.

“A number of recent cases investigated by the Inspectorate show that some employers still fail to meet these basic obligations and are faced with the consequences,” said Mason.

In a recent case, Wellington commercial cleaning company Dentice Facilities Management was ordered to pay $7,500 in fines by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

Dentice failed to provide wage and time records upon request by a Labour Inspector. The company also had to pay $4,300 in outstanding holiday pay and interest to a former employee.

Another recent example was Peniel Construction in Christchurch, which was ordered to pay a $6,500 fine for failing to provide records, while Tauranga-based Tamehana Horticulture Service faced a $6,000 fine for similar breaches.

“The Labour Inspectorate takes breaches of employment law very seriously,” Mason said.

“These will be subject to compliance action and potentially penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies.”

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