Auckland car wash penalised $145k for underpaying more than 200 staff

The car wash company has been charged for a total of 322 breaches of the Employment Law.
MATTHEW BENOIT

The car wash company has been charged for a total of 322 breaches of the Employment Law.

An Auckland car wash and valet services company has been ordered to pay $145,000 for failing to pay minimum wages to over 200 workers.

A labour inspector of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has applied for penalties to be imposed against Manukau Auto Valet (MAV) by the Employment Relations Authority after finding that a total of $96,451.66 had not been paid in minimum wages and holiday pay for a total of 221 employees, from 2010 to 2016.

In September 2015, a labour inspector of the ministry of received a complaint which found MAV had failed to pay minimum wages and holiday pay to at least 115 employees between 2014 and 2015.

Following this investigation, director of MAV Dharmesh Kumar told the labour inspector that all wages prior to 2014 had been paid correctly. 

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But another investigation found that a further 106 employees had not received their entitled pay.

The car wash company has been charged for a total of 322 breaches of the Employment Law.

MAV had failed to pay 206 employees their holiday pay at the end of their employment, while 95 employees didn't receive their minimum wage.

In the determination, ERA member Vicki Campbell said failure to pay employees at least the minimum wage for all hours worked is a "serious matter.

"It deprives the employees of income on an ongoing basis and allows the employer to profit from its own breach."

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The ERA determination shows Kumar has rectified his systems to ensure compliance and was co-operative with the labour inspector throughout her investigation.

In its statement to the ERA, MAV attributed its failure to pay minimum standards correctly to a "misunderstanding of the statutory requirements and mistakes in applying them".

But Campbell declared this is not a mitigating factor and all employers are obliged to abide the law.

 - Stuff

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