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Role of Labour Inspectors

Labour Inspectors work with employers and employees (and other people and agencies) to make sure that workplaces follow at least the minimum employment standards and laws as set out in the following employment-related Acts:

Their role is to monitor and enforce compliance with employment standards as well as other specific duties outlined in the various Acts. They use targeted investigations and audit programmes to find breaches of employment standards and put them right.

Some areas that Labour Inspectors look at include:

Labour Inspectors investigate potential breaches impartially before making a decision. For some cases (eg where vulnerable workers have been exploited or where rights have been breached repeatedly or blatantly), Labour Inspectors may look at penalty actions, publicise the case and even aim to remove employers from the labour market. For less serious breaches of employment standards (eg one-off accidental mistakes) an inspector might use tools such as enforceable undertakings or improvement notices, to require employers to change their workplace practices and repay any arrears owing. Investigations are prioritised depending on severity, facts, evidence and circumstances, balanced with resourcing allocation and specific Inspectorate focus at the time.

Labour Inspectors can’t advise you about general disputes and some contractual matters contained in employment agreements, or pay rates (except the minimum wage).

Some of the things that Labour Inspectors can do (depending on the outcome of an investigation and the circumstances of the particular case) include:

What employers need to know if a Labour Inspector comes to their workplace

If someone comes to your workplace and says they are a Labour Inspector but you are unsure, you should ask to see their warrant.
Labour Inspectors can:

If a Labour Inspector sees or gets a copy of a document from you, they have to keep the information safe and can’t disclose it unless they need to disclose it for the purposes of a specified employment-related Act or they need to disclose it to or share it with a regulatory agency (in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993).