New Penalties for Employers

Posted by Madeleine Hawkesby on 27 March 2015

Proposed new penalties for employers who breach minimum employment standards

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Michael Woodhouse, has announced new penalties for employers who breach employment standards.

The Minister has said that the changes are intended to stop employees from being exploited and to prevent employers getting an unfair advantage on employers who abide by the law.

The Minister said changes include tougher sanctions, increased tools for labour inspectors and clearer record keeping requirements. 

Changes include:

  • For the most serious breaches, such as exploitation, cases will be heard at the Employment Court and carry maximum penalties of $50,000 for an individual and the greater of $100,000 or three times the financial gain for a company.
  • Employers will be publically named if the Employment Relations Authority or Employment Court finds they have breached minimum standards.
  • Individuals will also face the possibility of being banned as employers if they commit serious or persistent breaches of employment standards.
  • Record-keeping requirements for wages, time, holidays and leave will be made consistent across all employment legislation.
  • There will be enhanced information sharing powers with other regulators such as Immigration New Zealand, the Companies Office and Inland Revenue.
  • Labour inspectors will be able to request any record or document from employers that they consider will help them determine whether a breach has occurred.

The proposed changes will be outlined out in an Employment Standards Bill to be introduced to Parliament around the middle of 2015.

We will keep you updated on these proposed changes.