Canterbury pub fined for breaching workers' rights

The owners of a Canterbury pub have been fined $30,000 for treating their employees as casuals.

Malcolm and Claire Bennett own the Coalgate Tavern in Selwyn District and were fined for 30 breaches of the Holiday Act by failing to provide three employees with minimum holiday rights.

The Employment Relations Authority said the owners treated their permanent employees as casual staff, which meant they did not receive some forms of paid leave.

Inspectorate regional manager Jeanie Borsboom said an investigation was carried out into the minimum rights of the 17 employees at the pub.

"One employee who had worked for the pair for 10 years was only paid for one sick day throughout the period. She worked whilst unwell having been told by the Bennetts that she wasn't entitled to paid leave.

"Another employee did not take any time off work when her mother died because she couldn't afford to take unpaid leave.

"These breaches occurred over a significant period of time. It was only after the investigation began that the Bennetts engaged with a payroll company to help them pay their employees correctly and record holiday entitlements. It is simply not acceptable for employers to fail to meet their employees' basic rights."

Ms Borsboom said the owners had no intention of actively exploiting their employees, but had not lived up to their expectations under the Act.

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