Three South Auckland superette stores have been ordered to pay out $57,000 following a migrant exploitation investigation by the Employment Relations Authority. It comes after a director of the businesses unsuccessfully tried to lie his way out of wrongdoing, authorities said.
In a statement today, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said the companies — Saloni Enterprises Limited, Saloni Holdings Limited and B Enterprises Limited — failed to provide the minimum wage, annual holidays, public holidays and alternative holidays to two former employees.
The breaches also included failure to keep and maintain compliant wages, time, holiday and leave records as well as failure to provide an employment agreement.
Those liable for the penalties include the director, Balwinder Singh, and his wife Jaswinder Kaur, who have been ordered to pay $15,000 and $5000, respectively.
"The director tried to undermine our investigation by providing false information and denying the allegations, but the truth came out in the end," regional manager labour inspectorate Loua Ward said.
"The ERA [Employment Relations Authority] noted that these were some of the most serious conceivable breaches, and that they were intentional."
It comes after the companies were previously ordered to pay $90,000 in wage and holiday pay arrears to the two former employees. That has since been paid.
"The employers took advantage of their employees’ vulnerable position as migrant workers," Ward said.
"They breached legal requirements, which are in place to make sure all workers in New Zealand are treated fairly."
The companies also now face a two-year ban on supporting visa applications.
Anyone with concerns about an employment situation is urged to contact the ministry's service centre on 0800 20 90 20.