Employee evidence can be taken at face value| Employment Law Update June

A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority ordered an employer to pay substantial wages to four employees following an employer’s failure to keep adequate wage and time records.

The Authority invoked s132 which allows the Authority to accept all claims by employees about time worked and wages paid as being proven. However, this assumption is subject to two qualifications.

Firstly, the assumption can be negated by positive proof from the employer that the claims are incorrect.

Secondly, the Authority has a discretionary power not to accept some or all of the workers’ evidence about wages paid and hours worked. The Authority found that the employer’s evidence did not prove that the employee’s claims as to hours worked were fundamentally incorrect.

The Authority accepted the wages claim of one employee in its entirety. However, for the other three employees, the Authority did not order the payment of all wages claimed by those employees as being payable. The Authority exercised its discretion to make some modification to the wages claimed. The Authority resolved the wages claims for those three employees by applying a 30% margin shortfall, ordering the employer to pay those three employees based on 30% of the wages already paid to them.

Brahmbahtt v Kohli[2019] NZERA 507

Information reproduced with permission of Wolters Kluwer

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