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Unpaid wages: Taking action to get your pay

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 131, 142 Minimum Wage Act 1983, ss 10, 11

If your employer hasn’t paid you your wages, or has paid you less than the minimum wage or less than the amount stated in your employment agreement, you or a government labour inspector can apply to the ERA for it to order your employer to pay the money you’re owed. You have to apply within six years after the date when the wages should have been paid (see: “The legal process for dealing with employment problems”).

If you’ve been paid less than the minimum wage, you can also ask the ERA to make your employer pay a monetary penalty. If the ERA does this, it can order the employer to pay some or all of the penalty to you.

Can I see my employer’s pay and time records?

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 130

Employers must keep wages and time records. If you (or someone you’ve authorised to represent you, like a labour inspector) ask to see those records for any period in the last six years, your employer must provide a copy or allow you (or your representative) to see the relevant records.

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Resolving employment problems

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

The Employment website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment publishes a range of information on employment relations and minimum rights at work.

Website: www.employment.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 20 90 20
Information about resolving problems at work: www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems
Early Resolution Service (free phone-based service to resolve issues before they become serious): www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems/steps-to-resolve/early-resolution
Free Mediation Services: www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems/steps-to-resolve/mediation

Te Kauae Kaimah/New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

Te Kauae Kaimah is the umbrella body for affiliated unions covering every job and industry in New Zealand. It can provide information about which union may cover the type of work you do.

Website: www.union.org.nz
Email: info@nzctu.org.nz
Phone: (04) 385 1334

Labour inspectorate

Labour inspectors monitor and enforce minimum employment conditions. To refer a problem to a labour inspector, you contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

Website: www.mbie.govt.nz/position-descriptions/employment-services/labour-inspector-employment-services and www.employment.govt.nz/resolving-problems/steps-to-resolve/labour-inspectorate
Phone: 0800 20 90 20

Employment Relations Authority (ERA)

If you’re unable to settle at mediation (see under “Mediation of Business, Innovation & Employment” above), the next step is to file your claim in the ERA.

Website: www.era.govt.nz
For contact details in your local area: www.era.govt.nz/footer/contact-us

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