Owners of Asparagus Grower Ordered to Pay Penalty of $26,000


The Employment Relations Authority has ordered the owners of an asparagus growing business to pay a penalty of $26,00 for breaching minimum entitlements. In an earlier determination, the Authority found that the owner-operators, which did not employee its workers through a company, had committed 47 separate breaches affecting a total of 13 employees. The breaches included failing to pay workers the minimum wage for each hour worked, for unlawful deductions to their wages and for failing to meet its holiday pay requirements.

Failing to meet minimum entitlements can have large repercussions, particularly for Directors who can be held personally liable, both to rectify the breaches and penalties. For a small or medium sized employee $26,000 is a sizeable sum and one that may cause liquidity issues. If you are unsure about what your minimum entitlements obligations are, seek legal advice. It can be far more costly in the long run if an employer gets it wrong. In our experience the Labour Inspectorate readily enforces significant breaches, particularly when it involves vulnerable workers.