Inspector checks farmers' staff records

A Labour inspector doing random checks on farmers in the south has met resistance.

Progressive Agri HR consultant Melissa Vining said farmers should be aware labour inspector David O'Shea was in the region undertaking checks.

He was ensuring the time records, holiday wages and minimum wages were correct, she said.

She understood the inspector met resistance yesterday.

She urged farm owners not to be obstructive because he had a right to be there.

In April, farmers were told to "lift their game" after Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's labour inspectorate visited 44 farms throughout the country, 31 of which were found to be in breach of minimum employment rights.

Southland inspectors found three out of seven Southland dairy farms had flouted basic employment laws.

This came after visits to Southland last year, when three of the 10 dairy farms visited did not have accurate records of the hours their employees worked.

Earlier this month, Vining highlighted many Southland dairy farmers were unaware of the employment rules. The issue came down to a lack of understanding about seasonal averaging and a failure to keep accurate time and wage records, she said.

Some farmers struggled to understand they could not seasonal average and an employee must receive at least the minimum wage for each hour worked, each day worked, and each week worked.

Benefits such as meat, firewood, wet weather gear or milk could not be used to make up any shortfall in the minium wage, she said. 

The Southland Times