Labour inspectors targeting farmers in 2018

The Labour Inspectorate is calling for dairy farmers to get it sorted with compliant records, employment agreement, and all employees receiving at least their minimum legal entitlements, including at least minimum wage for every hour worked.

In its media release, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment stated its recent investigations had found 28% of farms were failing to meet their record-keeping obligations, resulting in $11,000 of fines. 

While MBIE says the statistic is an improvement, the reality remains that no employers should be failing to meet the basic minimum requirements of New Zealand employment law.  Minimum requirements include keeping good wage, time, holiday and leave records, having compliant employment agreements and ensuring all employees have the correct VISAs to be working in New Zealand.  

Farmers also need to ensure they are paying employees all their legal entitlements such as for working on public holidays and receiving at least minimum wage for every hour worked. It’s not ok to pay a weekly salary and hope that quiet times of the season balance out the busy times.  Employers need to ensure employees are paid at least the minimum wage per hour for every hour worked in each pay period. 

Labour Inspectors will be visiting more farms in the coming year and MBIE’s messaging is that any farms “that are found not meeting their employment obligations can expect to face serious consequences”.

For more information about your obligations as an employer in the agri sector, and how to comply with them, please contact one of our employment team.  We can also assist you through the process of an inspection if the Labour Inspectors call upon you.