15 April 2024

85 Akl. businesses checked in major migrant exploitation crackdown

Employers demanding money from employees, no employment contracts, wages below minimum wage rate, etc are some of the breaches found by the Labour Inspectorate during a large-scale operation conducted last week to identify potential migrant exploitation and minimum employment standards compliance by businesses in the Auckland metropolitan area.

High levels of non-compliance were found at a “large number”of the 85 businesses checked and operating in the retail and hospitality sectors. These vary from lower-level breaches such a poor record-keeping to more serious noncompliance. At least a dozen infringement notices are being issued.

The three-day operation, carried out jointly with Immigration Compliance and Investigations, followed formal complaints being lodged against the retail and hospitality businesses spread across Auckland.

“We take migrant exploitation seriously. This operation is a tangible example of that commitment to follow up on alleged breaches of minimum employment standards and exploitative practices,” said Simon Humphries, Head of Compliance and Enforcement, Labour Inspectorate.

“Our focus was on ensuring employers were complying with minimum employment standards by paying people the right minimum wage, holiday pay, leave entitlements and maintaining proper record keeping practices,” Humphries said.

Breaches uncovered included:

  • wages below the minimum wage rate being paid
  • no employment contracts for employees
  • inadequate or no record keeping
  • withholding of employee holiday/leave entitlements
  • breaches of visa conditions, and
  • employers demanding money from employees.

Humphries said enforcement action will be taken against businesses where issues of “deliberate non-compliance and exploitative practices” were uncovered.

“At this stage, we expect between 12 and 15 infringement notices will be issued which could lead to some accredited employers being placed on the stand-down list.”

When asked by NewsViews the reason for such a low number of infringement notices being issued, Humphries said “We take a graduated approach to compliance. Our Inspectors investigate complaints and take a proactive approach to sites, investigations and audits programmes to find breaches of employment standards.

“Enforcement action can take various forms when breaches of employment standards are detected. These include infringement notices but are not limited to them alone.

“Where they can, and the breaches are minimal and unintentional, the Inspectorate works with the employers and employees to educate or resolve a complaint.”

But not all breaches were minimal.

“There were also other instances where we were disappointed to find serious breaches in minimum employment standards,” Simon Humphries said.

Humphries confirmed there are consequences for employers for breaches.

“Employers who have breached employment standards are restricted from recruiting migrant workers. Businesses that do not comply with employment standards can face legal consequences. These can include having to pay unpaid wages and holiday pay, infringement fines and penalties. Consequences for serious breaches can include penalties, having to compensate someone for harm, and being banned from hiring staff.”

Comments are welcome

Get Noticed –  

from NewsViews

Like NewsViews

Advertise here

Support us- we are local