A migrant worker was paid $4 an hour while working in bars and liquor stores in South Auckland owned by two companies.
A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment labour inspector conducted an investigation into the employment of Hardeep Singh by Sharmas & Sons (2009) Limited and Sharmas & Sons Limited.
The Employment Relations Authority ordered the two companies to pay $87,300 in wage arrears and penalties in a decision published today.
Member of the Authority Rachel Larmer said in her decision published today that Singh was a vulnerable employee, being aged 19 and in New Zealand on a work visa.
Larmer said Singh was reluctant to complain about his poor conditions of work because his employers said they would support him to get a permanent visa.
The companies had no written employment agreements or records of hours worked for Singh, but evidence showed his hourly rate was $4 an hour, with some hours of the week going unpaid.
Larmer considered the breaches "serious and significant" and imposed fines of $42,000 on the two companies, with $22,000 of the penalty to be paid to Singh.
The companies were ordered to pay Singh wage arrears totaling $45,300.
The two companies owned and operated Bellbird Tavern, Papakura Tavern, Tainui Tavern and Oaks Tavern in South Auckland, as well as Happy Liquor stores in Manurewa and Penrose.