Northland employers are being warned to keep employee records up to date or face fines after 16 breaches of time and wage or leave records were resolved in the region last year.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said employers have to keep accurate employment records and produce them when asked by a labour inspector or face enforcement action and penalties. Employers are required to keep employment records for six years and the ministry's Labour Inspectorate resolved 332 cases with breaches in time and wage or leave records in 2014.

Sixteen of the cases were in Northland, with Pulman Farms in Dargaville and Enchanted Nails in Kerikeri each having two breaches. The two companies have been served with Improvement Notices and have since achieved compliance, so the issues were rectified.

An Improvement Notice describes the employment law breach, the date and steps the employer must comply with. If the employer fails to do so, the labour inspector may seek enforcement through a compliance order from the Employment Relationship Authority (ERA).

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"Accurate time, wage and leave record keeping is not just a legal requirement.

"It's necessary for employers to know what their workers are doing and what they are being paid. It's the only way employers can show they're providing workers with their minimum entitlements such as wage and holiday pay," George Mason, Labour Inspectorate general manager, said.

The Employment Relations and the Holidays Acts also require employers to keep employment records and produce them upon request by a labour inspector.

"A number of recent cases investigated by the Inspectorate show that some employers still fail to meet these basic obligations and are faced with the consequences," Mr Mason said.

"The Labour Inspectorate takes breaches of employment law very seriously. These will be subject to compliance action and potentially penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies."

More information is available at: www.employment.govt.nz/er/pay/recordkeeping/index.asp