Worker yet to receive compensation

By Imran Ali

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A worker awarded more than $20,000 in lost pay and distress compensation nearly a year ago after she was unfairly dismissed by a Northland company is still waiting to be paid in full.

British national Rozalind Jones was made redundant by Kerikeri-based Palmco Garden in November 2014, and she took the company to the Employment Relations Authority and won.

Last July, the authority ordered Palmco Garden to pay Ms Jones $14,655 in lost remuneration and a further $6000 in distress compensation. Company shareholder Kristin Lammerting said Palmco Garden twice offered Ms Jones payment by weekly instalment but she refused.

"Palmco Garden Ltd is not in the position to pay this non-trading debit from the ERA case in one lump sum, but offered twice to Ms Jones a payment by weekly instalment," Ms Lammerting said.

"Rozalind Jones refused. She told me that she and her child are living in England, comfortable on proper British Government support."

She claimed an authority-appointed bailiff discovered the company had no assets and closed the case.

Palmco Garden had tried to address the issue within its means and ability to pay, she said.

Ms Jones confirmed the offer but said the amount offered was an "insult", without divulging how much was being offered via weekly payment.

The mother-of-one said she had to leave New Zealand in February 2015, before the authority hearing, as she was not eligible for government assistance and could not afford to remain in the country without an income.

As she had sold everything before moving to New Zealand, Ms Jones said she was forced to survive on social welfare and food vouchers.

"When I came back I was listed as homeless and the Government here wanted me to move into a women's refuge, but my sister said that wasn't going to happen and took me in, but I waited for six months for my habitual residency to be granted," she said.

The whole episode since she was made redundant had been emotionally draining, Ms Jones said, and the money she was awarded would have helped in difficult times.

- Northern Advocate

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