Complaints made under Minimum Wage Act revealed

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The release of figures detailing complaints made under the Minimum Wage Act has implied that not all of New Zealand’s employers are complying with their obligations.

Data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) revealed that nationally, 1910 complaints were made between July 2012 and late February this year.

The figures – which were released to Hutt News under the Official Information Act – showed that during the same period, a further 733 complaints were made under the Wages Protection Act.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector received the most number of complaints, topping a list of 19 industries ranked by number of complaints relating to the Minimum Wage Act.

The wholesale trade, arts and recreation services and information, media and telecommunications sectors sat at the bottom of the table, receiving just three complaints between them.

Mike Gould, partner at Gibson Sheat, told Hutt News that the numbers were low for a three year period, adding that he had heard very few complaints under the Minimum Wage Act.

However, he said had heard of issues arising under the Wages Protection Act, which prevents unlawful deductions from wages – particularly in relation to employers deducting money owed from holiday pay following a resignation.

Helen Kelly, president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, told Hutt News that the complaints were not reflective of the real number of issues around pay obligations.

“That's only the people who can actually get through and complain and feel confident in doing that,” she said. “These are the worst forms of exploitation in New Zealand as the minimum code, which employees rely on, is being broken.”

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