An Auckland builder has been awarded $24,000 in arrears pay and entitlements after his boss stopped paying him with no explanation for three weeks.
The company responsible, Ten Group, was allegedly working their employees long hours while surreptitiously selling business tools and vehicles as the business headed towards liquidation.
Employee Carl Bloomfield was awarded a $24,512 payout after the Employment Relations Authority deemed his employer Ten Group to have breached employment standards.
The Authority determined that Ten Group's sole director Tanya Hayden had not paid her employee Bloomfield for his work between October 11 and October 31 last year.
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Bloomfield quit his job following this, claiming to the Authority he and other employees "had worked excessive hours to try and get Ten Group out of debt".
"Mr Bloomfield became concerned that he would not be paid at all when he saw that Ms Hayden was selling Ten Group's assets (such as tools and possibly even work vehicles) for cash and keeping the cash payments 'off the books', - even potentially retaining them for herself and/or her husband's benefit," the authority's determination papers said.
"Mr Bloomfield also noticed that Ms Hayden was not taking steps to recover the substantial debts that others owed to Ten Group that, if recovered, could have been used to pay employees the wage arrears they were owed."
Bloomfield also claimed boss Hayden continued to assure him that he would be paid during the three weeks in October when he worked for nothing.
The $24,512 Ten Group was ordered to pay Bloomfield consisted of: $5,192.30 salary arrears; $14, 572.58 holiday pay arrears; $675.92 company expenses he had incurred; a $4,000 penalty for breaches of his employment agreement; and $71.56 to reimburse his Authority filing fee.
Ten Group director Hayden did not appear at the Authority hearing, and said her business had no assets and was going into liquidation.
Nevertheless, the Authority ordered that the $24,512 payment to Bloomfield had to be made within 14 days of their January 9, 2020 determination.
The authority noted Bloomfield would have the right in future to pursue Hayden personally for liability for Ten Group's failure to pay his salary if he was not paid the money he was owed.
"This matter is not yet at that stage," the authority noted though, allowing Hayden an opportunity to pay the money.
The Herald is seeking comment from Hayden.