Cafe fined for forcing payment

Last updated 12:23 05/06/2014

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An Auckland cafe director has been ordered to pay more than $14,000 after forcing an employee to give back $200 worth of wages each week for six months.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said today that Bin Zhang, of Viz cafe, had breached minimum labour standards.

Zhang told an employee his business wasn't profitable and that weekly cash payments were needed or her work visa could be revoked.

The employee was required to make a total of 17 such payments and the deductions brought her net income to well below the minimum wage.

Labour inspectorate northern region manager, David Milne, said the case served as a clear warning to other employers who breached minimum labour standards.

"The cafe director took advantage of a vulnerable employee through deliberate and calculated breaches of employment laws," Milne said.

The Employment Relations Authority ordered Zhang to pay $6120 in wage arrears and a $5000 penalty for breaching the Wages Protection Act 1983.

The authority said $2000 of the penalty was to be paid to the employee, rather than the Crown and an additional $3000 penalty was ordered for Zhang's failure to comply with an Improvement Notice issues by the Labour Inspectorate.

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