An Indian restaurant in Timaru has been ordered to stump up $13,865 after it failed to pay migrant workers a minimum wage or the correct holiday entitlements.
Labour Inspectorate said its investigation had uncovered a string of breaches concerning three migrant workers at Tandoori King, an Indian restaurant in the South Island town.
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ordered the restaurant to pay $6000 in penalties, in addition to the $7,865 in arrears already paid to the workers.
The Labour Inspectorate said it had discovered that the restaurant had failed to pay minimum wage, the correct holiday pay, and keep holiday and leave records.
"Every employer in New Zealand must provide their employees with all their entitlements, such as at least the minimum wage for every hour worked - anything less will not be tolerated," Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne said.
"While migrant workers have all the same employment rights as any other worker in New Zealand, they are less likely to know their rights and this makes them vulnerable.
"In this case the employer withheld final holiday pay from two of the employees when they left, and paid another below the minimum wage for all the hours worked after they failed to adjust the employees wage to match a rise in the minimum wage," he said.
"While they fixed the issue when they became aware of it and paid arrears back to the employee, this penalty is a good reminder the onus is on the employer to get it right and ignorance is no excuse.
"The Labour Inspectorate takes these kinds of cases very seriously. Not only do these employers breach the rights of their employees, they also gain an unfair advantage over the wider business community who are good employers and meet all their obligations."
The owner of Tandoori King, a firm called Kings Curry House, released the following statement through a lawyer:
"Kings Curry House Limited were the subject of an investigation by the Labour Inspector in July 2015," the statement sad.
"Kings Curry House Limited cooperated with the Labour Inspector throughout its investigation. The Employment Relations Authority found that the breaches were largely inadvertent rather than deliberate and contributed to by poor record keeping and confusion around their legal obligations as employers Kings Curry House Limited is extremely remorseful for what has occurred. Kings Curry House Limited has made sure the affected employees have been paid their full entitlements. Kings Curry House Limited have taken steps to make sure that they are now fully compliant with their employment obligations and are confident that they now have the correct systems in place for the future."