An Auckland cafe owner who took advantage of migrant workers has been fined just over $30,000.

An investigation by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), found Page Corner Cafe owner Sherrie Lin failed to pay two of its migrant workers minimum wages, correct holiday pay, provide an employment agreement as well keep wage, time, holiday and leave records.

The cafe has now changed hands and Lin is no longer the owner.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) found she breached the workers' basic employment rights and ordered Lin, who operated the cafe in Kingsland, to pay $30,405, including $20,000 in penalties.


"The two workers in this case were left significantly out of pocket as a result of the employer's actions. One employee is owed arrears of $9377 and the other owed $1027," says Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne.

"Addressing the exploitation of migrants in the hospitality sector is a priority for the Labour Inspectorate.

"Migrant workers employed in restaurants, bars and cafes can be particularly vulnerable in understanding their basic employment rights, and employers must know this mistreatment will not be tolerated."

As well as not paying the minimum wage, final holiday pay was also withheld when each employee finished.

"One employee was left stressed after continually asking to be paid, and the other recognised their employer assumed the exploitation would not be reported to the Inspectorate in order to protect their worker's visa.

"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."

• MBie encouraged anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20.