An "unbelievable'' failure to keep accurate records of staff earnings and hours has cost an Omarama hunting business more than $80,000.

A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment statement today says the Employment Relations Authority has issued $55,000 in fines to New Zealand Mountain Hunting Ltd, and a further $27,500 to the company's director Gary Herbert.

After a former employee alleged staff were required to work an average of 12 hours a day, but were only paid a flat rate of $150 per day, the Labour Inspectorate investigated.

"The requirement to keep accurate and complete records sits at the very heart of an employer's obligations," Labour Inspectorate regional manager Jeanie Borsboom said.

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The ERA handed $55,000 in fines to New Zealand Mountain Hunting Ltd, and a further $27,500 to the company's director. Photo / Otago Daily Times
The ERA handed $55,000 in fines to New Zealand Mountain Hunting Ltd, and a further $27,500 to the company's director. Photo / Otago Daily Times

"Failing to keep accurate records makes it impossible for an employer to show they provided their employees with at least the minimum wage and holiday entitlements and leaves them open to any kind of claim from employees.

"It's unbelievable that after 25 years in business, the employer took no steps to set up compliant systems."

The Labour Inspectorate investigation showed the employer did not keep full records for 17 employees, and did not keep full and accurate holiday and leave records for 19 employees.

Their individual employment agreements also did not state the employees' usual hours of work.

Anyone concerned about the employment situation of themselves or someone they know was advised to call the Employment New Zealand contact centre on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

Information on employment rights and obligations is available on the Employment New Zealand website.