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Wellington grocer exploited migrant worker

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/08/2016

A Wellington grocery shop has been hit with a more than $60,000 bill after forcing a migrant worker to give it money and failing to pay him the minimum wage.

Sun 2 Moon on Willis Street has been ordered to pay $25,000 in penalties and $29,000 in wages owed to Jaspreet Singh in an Employment Relations Authority ruling.

It's also been told to pay back $10,000 it made Mr Singh pay the company in "premiums", including an upfront payment, regular cash payments and business costs it made him take out on a personal credit card.

The ERA found the Wellington CBD store, owned and operated by Luv Kumar Khattar, had failed to give Mr Singh holiday pay or meet minimum wage requirements and didn't keep proper records.

"It is difficult not to see this sort of behaviour as an abuse of the power imbalance between employer and employee," the ruling said.

Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Loua Ward called the scale of non-compliance "very disappointing".

"No employer should require employees to pay premiums or pay wages back. Employees must be paid for all hours they work, and employers are required by law to keep proper time and wage records for all staff."

The case was brought by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment after receiving a complaint about an employee not being paid minimum wage.

Mr Singh was employed at Sun 2 Moon from November 2012 to November 2014

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