Restaurant penalised for failing to keep employment records

Menisha Walia runs Indian Zaika resturant in Hawera which has been charged for not maintain employment records.
CATHERINE GROENESTEIN

Menisha Walia runs Indian Zaika resturant in Hawera which has been charged for not maintain employment records.

An Indian restaurant that failed to keep the proper employment records has been fined $7000.

In April 2014 a labour inspector visited Hawera's Indian Zaika restaurant, in South Taranaki, following up on a complaint received by Immigration New Zealand.

The inspector's concerns arose after Walia Holdings Ltd (WHL) were unable to provide evidence of compliant wage, time, holiday and leave records.

Discussions were held with WHL shareholder Menisha Walia regarding the requirements for keeping records, practical guidance was given and in early May 2014 an improvement notice was issued.

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However, despite five requests over 16 months the company failed to produce records, or demonstrate compliance with the improvement notice.

The Inspector then brought the case before the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) after a follow up investigation found the company had not complied with the improvement notice.

The Authority determined the company was in breach of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and ordered WHL to pay $7000 in penalties.

In its judgement, the authority said WHL's failure to provide the documents was serious, ongoing and deliberate.

It had also undermined the inspector's ability to evaluate whether WHL employees were receiving minimum entitlements in accordance with legislation.

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Accurate time and wage recording was a basic requirement of the law, Labour Inspectorate central regional manager Natalie Gardiner said.

"Without accurate records, employers are unable to demonstrate they are providing employees with their minimum entitlements," she said.

"Employers are required by law to produce employment records when requested by a Labour Inspector. This ruling sends a clear message to employers that failure to do so will not be tolerated," Gardiner said.

When contacted on Wednesday Menisha Walia declined to comment.

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