There is little guidance in New Zealand on how courts should approach penalties for companies that do not adhere to minimum employment standards, particularly for multiple breaches. However, a recent New Zealand Employment Court case, demonstrates an increased willingness to impose high penalties for multiple failures of minimum standards.
Two South Island companies with the same directors and shareholders have been fined a total of $100,000 for breaching minimum employment laws. The companies did not pay holiday pay, the minimum wage, public holiday pay rates and failed to keep adequate time and wage records for their employees. One company was fined $60,000 and the other $40,000. These penalties have to be paid in addition to the companies paying five of their workers more than $70,000 in unpaid wages and holiday pay.