Paying worker in beers lands company in trouble

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Auckland carpenter Kinikinilau Uasike has been awarded more than $12,000 in compensation from SN Windows and Doors, which paid him in beers for working on weekends.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled that Uasike, who worked for the company between January and June last year, was unjustifiably dismissed.

Uasike claimed that he was given an envelope with $80 in it and told not to come back, as there was no work for him.

He also claimed that he was paid less than minimum wage, was not paid for statutory holidays and was not given any holiday pay on termination.

The company said that it hadn’t dismissed Uasike, he had simply failed to turn up at work and it had not paid him holiday pay because his employment had not ended.

However, authority member Rachel Larmer said in her decision that she found the company’s evidence “very odd”, as by the time the case was before the ERA, Uasike had not been given work or paid for almost a year and was working for another employer.

The ERA also discovered that employees who worked on Saturdays were given “a few beers” instead of their legally required normal wages.

Uasike told the ERA he was shocked and angry when he was told there was no work for him and he believed he was dismissed because he had been asking for payslips.

Larmer ruled in his favour and ordered SN Windows and Doors to pay $12,360.25, which included more than $4,000 in owed wages and $2,000 in distress compensation.

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