Auckland liquor store ordered to pay staff more than $97,000

A Papakura liquor store and its director have been forced to pay four of his staff more than $97,000 for breaching employment standards.

In ordering SS & PK Jador Ltd, trading as Clevedon Road Liquor, to shell out the $97,361.66, the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) also found their actions in underpaying staff were intentional and that the company exploited its workers.

The money was made up of outstanding wage, premium and holiday arrears and an investigation had found the company used two sets of records; one to show the real, or actual, hours worked and another set to show hours worked as per their employment agreement.

The liquor store’s director, Satnam Singh Jador, was found personally liable for $20,000 of the penalties as a person involved in the breaches.

The $50,000 and $20,000 penalties resulted from the company’s failure to provide the minimum wage for all hours worked, charging and receiving premiums, holiday and leave breaches and record keeping breaches.

The company made the repayments after mediation was undertaken by the Labour Inspectorate and meant the employees affected didn’t have to wait until the ERA determination to receive their arrears.

The ERA agreed with the Labour Inspectorate that the breaches were “intentional”.

It also noted the case had “the hallmarks of exploitation, due to the vulnerable position of the workers affected with regards to their immigration status”, Loua Ward, regional manager, Labour Inspectorate said.

“These offences are a case of blatant disregard for minimum employment standards.

“The majority of employers do the right thing and treat their workers well. However, we continue to see workers in the liquor industry who are not receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

“Cases of worker exploitation in New Zealand will not be tolerated.”

New measures have come into force as of July 1, 2021 to help combat migrant worker exploitation.

They included a new visa to support migrants to leave exploitative situations quickly and remain lawfully in New Zealand, as well as a dedicated 0800 number and web form to make it easier to report migrant exploitation.

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