Husband and wife owners of The Bakehouse Café must pay $70,000 in penalties, plus $20,000 compensation to two employees,
following a judgment by the Employment Court. A further $36,191 in outstanding wages and holiday pay arrears had been
paid to the employees prior to the Court hearing.
The Employment Court ordered Sok Hoiring Chhoir and Rattanak Heng, trading as The Bakehouse Café in Taumarunui, to pay
penalties of $50,000 and $20,000, respectively, for breaches of minimum employment standards legislation including the
Minimum Wage Act 1983 and the Holidays Act 2003.
The Court also ordered that they pay $10,000 compensation to each of the two affected employees.
This is in addition to the $36,191 arrears the employers already agreed to pay back to the two employees, for minimum
wage and holiday pay breaches.
The Labour Inspectorate investigated the business after receiving a complaint on behalf of the employees. The
investigation showed the employer did not keep accurate wage, time, and holiday and leave records for the employees.
Also, the employer did not pay the employees the minimum wage or their full annual and public holiday entitlements.
This case is a good example of how vulnerable migrant workers can be, says Labour Inspectorate National Manager Stu
“These two workers were new to the district, spoke English as a second language and were without extensive support
networks. The employer was opportunistic in breaching their rights, recognising the employees were unfamiliar with New
Zealand employment laws and their rights and entitlements.
“In some weeks, they worked for a total of 77 hours each, double what was on their employment agreements, and for less
than the minimum wage. The employees spoke about how they felt cheated and exploited, that they were fearful of losing
their jobs, and that the experience was traumatic.
“The employees did the right thing in a very difficult situation. They realised their rights were being breached, that
the work they were being asked to do was different than what was on their employment agreements, and they got a
complaint through to the MBIE contact centre to get help.”
Anyone concerned about the employment situation of themselves or someone they know is advised to call our contact centre
on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.