Five-figure fine for Northland employer

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A Northland petrol station has been hit with a six figure fine after it was found to have committed multiple breaches of employment law.

A Labour Inspectorate investigation discovered that IXL Petroleum and Gas Limited – trading as a G.A.S station franchise – breached its obligation to pay at least the minimum wage and correct holiday pay. It was also found to have made unlawful deductions.

“One staff member regularly had their wages deducted – with the employer paying them for 20 hours per week, despite their own records showing the employee worked significantly longer hours,” said Labour Inspectorate regional manager Loua Ward.

“Another employee reported being charged for customer drive offs and the employer seeking a premium in exchange for supporting their visa – both of which are illegal in New Zealand.”

The business, situated on State Highway One in Ruakaka, has already paid more than $14,500 in arrears to four employees and late last month the Employment Relations Authority ordered the gas station to pay a further penalty of $14,000.

“I consider a final total penalty of $14,000 sufficient to both punish and deter this company and its owners, and to deter other small businesses from similar activities,” member of the authority Nicola Craig wrote in her decision.

Loua Ward also warned businesses that failing to meet employment law not only results in fines, it could also damage a company’s reputation.

“Every person employed in New Zealand must be provided with their minimum employment entitlements – anything less is unacceptable,” she said.

“Not only do these cases mean penalties, if consumers don’t believe you pay your employees appropriately it can damage the brand as a whole.”

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