September 27, 2020

Courier contractor to pay $37,000 for employment breaches

By Gurbir Singh:

Incidents of non-compliance of the employment law and exploitation of migrants by employers in New Zealand continue unabated.

A Kapiti courier company contracted to CourierPost has been ordered to pay more than $37,000 for multiple breaches of employment law by the Employment Relations Authority following a Labour Inspectorate investigation.

Dhanoa Transport Limited and its sole director Arvinder Singh Dhanoa were penalised $12,000 and $4,000 respectively for breaching multiple minimum employment standards between 2015 and 2017. He was also ordered to pay employees $21,640 in wage arrears.

A perusal of the judgement of the Employment Relations Authority (a copy of which is available with this journalist) reveals that the Labour Inspectorate investigation uncovered 17 breaches of the Employment Relations Act.

These breaches included failure to pay four employees minimum wages; keep wage and time records for five employees; correctly calculate and pay annual holiday pay for five employees and provide valid individual employment agreements for six employees.

The affected workers were mostly recent migrants from India, and one breach included failure to pay for tasks such as preparing the vehicles for delivery which could take up to two hours every day.

According to the companies register, Dhanoa Transport Ltd was registered in 2013 and primarily operates in Courier service industry, and Dhanoa himself is reported to have moved to New Zealand in 2009.

Last week, an Auckland construction company was penalised $19,000 for 17 breaches of employment standards, having some of its visa-dependent migrant workers on unlawful casual employment agreements, etc.

Earlier in April there were at least three cases where heavy financial penalties were levied on employers for ignoring or breaching employment law, and these included, a Christchurch company operating two Japanese restaurants; a BP station franchise, Pegasus Energy Limited; and a former owner of Christchurch Watershed Bar and Restaurant, and restaurant Sequoia 88.