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MBIE prosecuting farmers over employment obligations

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has launched a nationwide investigation into Employment Law compliance within the dairy industry.

This has come about after a recent investigation into Waikato dairy farmers which found half of the farms visited were in breach of basic employment obligations.

The farmers who were in breach failed to keep written Employment Agreements, timesheets, and holiday or leave records.

The MBIE representatives had found that the farmers at fault were aware of their shortcomings, but had chosen to ignore their obligations.

The investigation found a total of 21 employment breaches across 14 farms, with seven infringement notices issued, three warnings and six farmers being fined a total of $9,000 (three fines of $2,000 and three of $1,000).

Employers who do not keep these employment records in place are liable to receive an infringement notice of $1,000 per breach, with fines and penalties increasing depending on the number and severity of breaches.

As a basic obligation, all employers should be keeping the following records:

  • Signed employment contracts
  • Records of hours worked (including salaried employees)
  • Records of leave taken
  • Written authority from the employee for the employer to make deductions from the employee’s pay
  • Ensuring employees receive at least minimum wage – currently at $15.75 per hour

Please note that if you outsource these employment services, you may still be jointly liable (along with your agent) for penalties or fines if these obligations are not met.

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.