26 Jun 2017

Horticulture hire company fined nearly $60k

4:15 pm on 26 June 2017

A labour hire company working on asparagus farms in Waikato has been ordered to pay nearly $60,000 after being caught twice by the Labour Inspectorate failing to keep employment records.

asparagus

Photo: 123RF

The Employment Relations Authority fined BBS Horticulture for failing to retain employment agreements, or keep records of wage, time, holiday or leave.

The Labour Inspectorate said BBS Horticulture had a history of non-compliance.

The Inspectorate first visited in November 2013 and discovered many employees were working in breach of their visa conditions and without records of employment.

Time and wage records supplied by BBS a few months later suggested they had complied.

But a follow-up audit in late 2015 revealed BBS had disregarded their obligations and was again unable to supply wage records.

Eleven Chinese employees, one working in breach of their visa, had no individual employment agreements or time sheets.

After the Labour Inspectorate questioned BBS sole shareholder and director Davinder Singh about the 11 people, they were disappointed to find Mr Singh could not name a single employee.

Labour Inspectorate regional manager Kevin Finnegan said keeping individual employment agreements and records were among employers' most basic obligations.

He said BBS Horticulture continued to ignore its obligations and showed itself to be completely unfit to be an employer.

The Employment Relations Authority has fined the company $57,000 and ordered nearly $2000 in arrears to be paid to former employees.

BBS Horticulture has also been restricted from accessing migrant labour for two years.