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Motel ordered to pay arrears to worker

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/08/2016

A South Island business has been ordered to pay more than $19,000 in penalties and arrears for what has been described as exploitation of a migrant worker.

Alpine Motor Inn and Cafe in Lewis Pass will have to pay the employee $6836 in minimum wage and holiday pay arrears.

The Employment Relations Authority also handed down a $5000 penalty for taking advantage of a vulnerable migrant worker, and $7500 in additional penalties for failure to maintain records or pay minimum wage.

The employee worked at the premises between November 17, 2015, and March 22, 2015, receiving a total of $2541.03.

The employer did not recognise the 552 hours worked in the first three months.

The ERA said evidence provided did not back up director Jerry Hohneck's argument that the worker was a volunteer during that three-month period.

It said differing accounts from Mr Hohneck suggested that he knew his actions were in breach of the Minimum Wage Act.

"This kind of deliberate failure to pay an employee wages for work carried out is exploitation, and this is very serious," says Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne.

"Attempts like this to avoid providing people working in New Zealand with minimum employment entitlements will not be tolerated."

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