An Indian restaurant chain has been fined more than $40,000 for underpaying staff.

The Labour Inspectorate found that Satish Shetty, sole director and shareholder of Shamiana Ltd and Shamiana Enterprises Ltd failed to pay staff minimum wage and holiday pay, or keep correct employment records.

Inspectorate regional manager David Milne said the companies employed 120 staff in 22 restaurants across the country.

"We've had several complaints dating back to August 2015 of Shetty not upholding his staff's basic employment rights."

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The chain has previously had to pay $24,000 in arrears to employees, and ordered to take corrective action to adhere to the Inspectorate's improvement notice.


"The continuous nature of these breaches, despite remediation at the time, shows that Mr Shetty wasn't taking his obligations as an employer of 120 staff seriously," Milne said.

"It was surprising that even after several complaints to the Inspectorate; Mr Shetty was not deterred from underpaying his staff. One of the breaches uncovered was for unpaid work trials for staff – a practice that's illegal under New Zealand employment law."

Because of the repeat breaches, Shamiana Ltd was ordered to pay $33,000 and Shamiana Enterprises Ltd was ordered to pay $18,000.

"Employers should understand that the Inspectorate follows up earlier non-compliance with a zero-tolerance approach. Additional strong penalties will be sought where any ongoing non-compliance is found.

"Not only is underpayment and mistreatment at the detriment of employees, it also gives companies an unfair commercial advantage over their law-abiding competitors."

Milne said anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, should report their concerns to 0800 20 90 20.