A Labour Inspectorate investigation uncovered employment breaches in a series of connected Asian restaurants in Auckland, who now must pay nearly $200,000.
The Employment Relations Authority ordered the restaurants to pay $99,000 in penalties for failing to provide minimum wage and correct holiday pay, as well as $97,000 in arrears to 132 employees.
“The vast majority of these workers were migrant students doing part time or casual work waitressing, bar tending, or in the kitchen,” said Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne. “Migrant workers have all the same employment rights as kiwi workers, and there are no acceptable excuses for employers to fail to meet all their obligations under New Zealand employment law.”
Gengy’s Management Limited are the originators of Gengy’s Mongolian BBQ Buffet franchise chain, while NZ Durham Limited and NZ C & J Limited trade as Japanese restaurants Kushi Takeaways, and Kushi Restaurant and Bar in Central Auckland. All three companies share the same sole director and shareholder, Wonki (Monty) Cho.
As a result of these penalties these companies will be placed on the stand down list, preventing them from sponsoring new visas to recruit migrant labour for 12, 18, and 24 months respectively. This determination comes as the Labour Inspectorate begins a number of pro-active visits into the hospitality sector in Auckland in the lead up to Christmas.
“Unfortunately what we’re finding in our initial visits is widespread non-compliance in the hospitality sector, and these employers are set to face consequences,” said Milne. “Any employer not familiar with their obligations, such as paying time and a half and providing an alternative day off for employees who work on public holidays, should get up to speed now. Failure to meet obligations can mean penalties, restricted access to migrant labour, and damage to the reputation of your business.”
MBIE encourages anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, to call 0800 20 90 20 where they can report their concerns in a safe environment.