A liquor store and dairy operator has been ordered to pay out almost $200,000 after breaching employment standards.

Shalini Limited was ordered to pay $100,000 in penalties and a further $96,542.34 in minimum wage and holiday pay to seven migrant workers, following a Labour Inspectorate investigation.

The inspectorate conducted an investigation into Shalini's employment practices after receiving a complaint in 2017.

It found evidence – relating to seven retail assistants working in Lifeline Dairy, Grafton Liquor Spot and Bottle-O in Parakai – that employees consistently worked long hours and did not receive minimum wage and holiday pay entitlements.

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Labour Inspectorate national manager Stuart Lumsden said he was deeply concerned about the trend of liquor stores breaching employment standards.

Since 2012, more than 60 investigations into liquor retail businesses had been completed.

"Franchise owners and associations need to take steps to ensure businesses trading under their brand are applying lawful and ethical practices," Lumsden said.

"If they don't, one non-compliant business can create a bad name for the whole franchise. Owners should be very clear about what and who they are branded with.

"Retailing liquor is a closely licensed activity. How anybody can meet the necessary character requirements to hold a liquor licence while at the same time exploiting their workers is a question licensing authorities might want to consider," Lumsden said.