Latest dairy farm visits reveal poor record keeping

On: 14 August 2014

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate has released the results of the third phase of its national dairy strategy, which involved visits to farms that employ migrant workers.

The findings show that while no exploitative conduct was found, a quarter of the farms visited were in breach of employment laws for poor record keeping.

Senior Labour Inspector Kris Metcalf says the visits were part of a long-term operation to check compliance with minimum employment obligations at dairy farms across the country.

“The majority of the 42 dairy farms visited in this phase were meeting minimum employment standards,” says Kris Metcalf.

“However, 11 farms were found to be in breach of their minimum employment obligations which is disappointing.

“All the breaches were related to insufficient record keeping, with the exception of one employer who was found to have inadequate employment agreements.

“The lack of sufficient record keeping continues to be a serious problem. It is a basic legal requirement. Without accurate time and wage records there is no transparency in the employment arrangements.

“Farmers cannot demonstrate to their workers or the Inspectorate that they are meeting their obligations for minimum wage and holiday payments without accurate records,” Kris Metcalf said.

The Labour Inspectorate has taken enforcement action in response to the breaches, with 10 enforceable undertakings and one improvement notice issued. These farmers have been given 28 days to comply.

There are financial penalties for not complying with employment laws of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies.

Mr Metcalf reminds farmers that examples of sufficient wage and time records can be found on the IRD and Dairy NZ websites.

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