18 kiwifruit contractors have recently had enforcement action taken against them following an operation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (“MBIE”).
The MBIE undertook field visits, home and office visits, visits to self-pick orchards and visits to pack-houses. 35 contractors were visited by the MBIE and 22 Improvement Notices were issued by the MBIE. Immigration NZ identified 8 illegal workers.
It is disappointing to find that the MBIE found more than half the contractors visited were in breach of their legal requirements. Of particular concern during the visits was the lack of acceptable time records.
The Employment Relations and the Holidays Act require employers to maintain wage, time, holiday and leave records, for their employees. Employee records must be made available to employees, their unions and the MBIE Labour Inspectors, if they ask for them. Records can be kept in electronic or paper files and must be kept for six years. Free information and copies of template forms are available at www.dol.govt.nz/er or by calling 0800 20 90 20.
The MBIE has put employers on notice, especially kiwifruit contractors, that failure to maintain accurate time, wage and leave records is a key focus for the Labour Inspectorate. If you are an employer, it is time to check your practices to ensure you are compliant with legislation.
This article is intended as a point of reference and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice. Specialist advice should always be sought in relation to any particular circumstances and no liability will be accepted for any losses incurred by those relying solely on this article.