The role of labour inspectors
Labour Inspectors work to ensure that New Zealand workplaces provide minimum employment rights. They use a mixture of targeted investigation and audit programmes to detect breaches of employment standards and then act to enforce the standards.
For serious cases (eg where vulnerable workers have been exploited or where rights have been breached repeatedly or flagrantly), enforcement can involve:
- seeking penalty actions
- publicising the case
- working together with other government agencies to remove employers from the labour market.
For less serious breaches of employment standards (eg one-off accidental mistakes), Inspectors can use compliance tools, such as Enforceable Undertakings or Improvement Notices, to require employers to amend their workplace practices and repay any arrears owing.