A dairy manager who was paid as little as $10 an hour has been awarded $25,000 in an Employment Relations Authority decision.

Amit Sharma took his employer, Chetanbhai Patel, to the authority claiming he breached his employment contract and paid him well below the minimum wage of $14.75.

Mr Sharma went to the authority after he stopped working at the Four Square in Trinity Cres, Napier, in January last year. He claimed he was owed $27,344 in unpaid wages.

Mr Sharma said he sometimes worked 65 hours a week for as little as $10 an hour and had to pay his employer back the PAYE payments. In January last year Sharma withheld the tax back-payment to Mr Patel. His wages were halted.

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During the hearing Mr Patel presented the authority with timesheets which he claimed showed the hours Mr Sharma had worked. Mr Sharma showed photographs of diaries kept by Mr Patel, which showed he had worked more hours than the timesheets stated. Mr Sharma said he had never seen the timesheets and believed they had been fabricated.

The authority concluded the timesheets were likely falsified and it found Mr Patel and his company were liable to pay Mr Sharma $25,008.37.