By Gurbir Singh, Feature Writer & Journalist, Hamilton

2 Cheap Cars Limited which employs 83 workers in its 14 branches nationwide, has been ordered to pay a $70,000 penalty by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) and is further liable for over $250,000 in arrears to employees.

According to the the MBIE’s media release today, the ERA made the order after the Labour Inspectorate’s investigation uncovered serious breaches of minimum wage, holiday pay, and record keeping.

“The Labour Inspectorate takes these kinds of breaches very seriously,” says Loua Ward, Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager. “

“A number of the employees were migrant workers who may not have been aware of all their rights and entitlements.

“Every worker in New Zealand must be paid at least the minimum wage for every hour worked, along with their holiday and leave entitlements”, says Ms Ward.”

In a sample of 12 workers employed by this business, the Inspectorate found they were owed $20,835.34 of entitlements, arrears which have since been paid.

As a result of an internal audit by 2 Cheap Cars Ltd., an estimated amount of $250,000 in arrears has already been uncovered.

A second external audit is currently being undertaken to ensure all current and former workers have received their correct entitlements.

2 Cheap Cars will also be placed on 24 month stand down from recruiting migrant workers as a consequence of not having complied with employment standards.

According to MBIE, earlier in July this year, two car companies in Hamilton were similarly ordered to pay $65,000 in penalties by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

These two businesses failed to pay minimum wage, correct holiday pay, provide employment agreements, or keep records of employment.

MBIE encourages anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, to contact them and report their concerns.

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