An Auckland man has been awarded more than $84,000 in wage arrears after his employer stopped paying him.
The Employment Relations Authority ordered Builderlab & Co Limited to pay James Won $84,750 minus PAYE.
Won, who was hired as a project manager by Builderlab, had claimed wage arrears for the period he was employed, 9 August 2018 until 8 February 2019.
Won's employment agreement stated he was to be paid his salary of $180,000 per annum in monthly instalments of $15,000, with the first payment due on September 9, and then on the ninth of every month following.
However, instead of receiving his normal wages, Won received vastly reduced amounts before payments stopped altogether:
• $1,600 cash deposit on 16 August 2018;
• $1,600 cash deposit on 3 September 2018;
• $50 bank transfer on 14 September 2018;
• $100 bank transfer on 8 October 2018;
• $1,900 bank transfer on 16 October 2018.
Builderlab didn't dispute these were the only wages Won received.
Won told the authority he continually asked for his wage arrears and that his employer had been stringing him along by telling him he was about to be paid or had actually been paid, so the fact that Won had not received payment was down to some third party error.
Builderlab told the authority the reasons they didn't pay Won his wages were;
• A big project it expected to get did not eventuate;
• Won did not have the skill or experience for the job;
• Won was a part owner of the Builderlab business.
In her ruling, Rachel Larmer, a member of the authority, dismissed all of Builderlab's excuses.
Larmer said Builderlab knew what Won's skills and experience were when they employed him and was not an excuse for non-payment. Larmer went on to say that while no credible evidence showed Won was a part owner in Builderlab (records show Byeongjin Kim is the sole director and shareholder), even if he was, Won was still an employee of Builderlab and entitled to be paid his contractual wages.