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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 Employment Relations Authority 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 / Taking your case to the Employment Relations Authority” in this chapter.

If you’ve been paid less than the minimum wage, you can also ask the Authority to make your employer pay a monetary penalty. If the Authority does this, it can order the employer to pay some or all of the penalty to you (see “Tough enforcement measures” at the start of the chapter “Employment conditions and protections”).

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

www.communitylaw. org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice if you’re facing problems at work.

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment


The Employment Relations website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has a range of information on personal grievances, mediation, the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court. This includes a pamphlet contained information on all those topics, called “Solving Problems at Work”.

Free phone 0800 20 90 20, for general enquiries about resolving employment problems.

Early Resolution Service


The Early Resolution Service is a service offered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. It is a free phone-based service to help employees and employers resolve workplace issues before it becomes too serious or needs a more formal process.

For more information on the Early Resolution Service, you can fill out the form on www.employment.govt.nz or call 0800 20 90 20.

Labour inspectors

Labour inspectors monitor and enforce minimum employment conditions. To refer a problem to a labour inspector, you contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment on: Free phone 0800 20 90 20

Employment Relations Authority


If you’re unable to settle at mediation, the next step is to file your claim in the Employment Relations Authority. For more information, visit the Authority’s website.

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi


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

Union members should contact their union for support in resolving problems at work.

Immigration New Zealand


Free phone: 0508 558 855
Phone: (09) 914 4100 (Auckland)
Phone: (04) 910 9915 (Wellington)

The Immigration New Zealand website has extensive information about the various types of visas and other immigration issues. There is also specific information on human trafficking and the help that’s available for people trapped in these situations.

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