MBIE enforces action on dairy farms for alleged employment law breaches

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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment MBIE – MBIE takes enforcement action for dairy farm employment law breaches

Enforcement action is being taken against 19 employers in the dairy industry for breaching employment law following a three month operation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate visited 29 dairy farms in nine regions to check their compliance with employment laws. More than half were targeted due to information about likely non-compliance.

“The level of non-compliance identified during this operation was extremely high and it was disappointing to find that a significant number of farmers still do not have systems in place to keep accurate time and wage records that are compliant with employment legislation,” says Natalie Gardiner, Labour Inspectorate Central Regional Manager.

Mrs Gardiner says MBIE issued 15 Improvement Notices and four Enforceable Undertakings for a total of 71 minimum employment standard breaches. The majority of breaches related to poor record keeping but several farms had significant minimum wage breaches and there is estimated arrears owed – of over $120,000. Nine of the more serious cases are being considered for filing with the Employment Relations Authority.

“The Ministry takes the exploitation of workers very seriously and is working proactively to crackdown on it through compliance operations targeting sectors and at risk workers across New Zealand. We are also working with the industry to help equip farmers with the skills and knowledge to be better employers by ensuring they get the basics right.”

“We will not hesitate to take action for breaches of employment law. Breaches will be subject to compliance action and potential penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies,” says Mrs Gardiner.

The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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