Two Waikato businesses have been fined more than $21,000 for "depriving" a migrant worker of almost $30,000 in wages.
Kumar Holdings and Associates Limited (Kumar Holdings) and World Class Kiwi Parcel Limited (World Class Kiwi), both owned by Nitesh Kumar, were ordered to pay $21,600 in penalties by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) after a Labour Inspectorate found both defaulting companies failed to pay minimum wage and holiday pay, and keep accurate employment records.
Natalie Gardiner, Labour Inspectorate regional manager, said the ERA's determination reflected how serious the employment breaches were.
"These are hefty sums which Mr Kumar deprived from his employee for his own financial benefit, so the large penalty ordered by the ERA's Determination this month shows how serious these employment breaches are," Gardiner said.
"The ERA found that many of these breaches of record keeping, including employment agreements, were deliberate, sustained and ongoing
"Not only did Mr Kumar financially benefit at the expense of his employee, he also obtained an unfair advantage over his market competitors and that behaviour is strongly discouraged."
The ex-employee often worked for more than 40 hours a week, undertaking cleaning activities, mail runs, and courier driving, according to Gardiner.
Kumar Holdings and World Class Kiwi will be placed on the Stand Down list for 12 months and will be prevented from hiring migrant workers for that time.
"Migrant workers have the same employment rights as all other workers in New Zealand, and the Inspectorate works with Immigration NZ and other government agencies as part of a whole-of-government approach to combat migrant exploitation," Gardiner said.
Kumar has since repaid more than $27,000 owed to the ex-employee.