New Zealand Business Caught Paying Beers to Employees

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A waiter tastes a beer ahead of an Anheuser-Busch InBev shareholders meeting in Brussels April 30, 2014.
A waiter tastes a beer ahead of an Anheuser-Busch InBev shareholders meeting in Brussels April 30, 2014. REUTERS/Yves Herman

A New Zealand company that reportedly pays its employees in beer instead of monetary compensation Is being ordered to pay its former employee more than $12,000.

According to the official report of the Employment Relations Authority, SN Windows and Doors Ltd. In Auckland hired Kinikinilau Uasiki in January 2013. The former employee claimed the company paid him below minimum wage and he was terminated after six months. He was told there was no more work available and given $80.

Uasike claimed he started working for the company on January 14 but the company disputed it was on May 13.  The former employee also claimed he was dismissed on June 28 after receiving an envelope with $80 inside and message not to come back.

Uasike sought assistance from the Employment Relations Authority and filed claims of unfair dismissal and back pay. He claimed he was not given compensation for the hours he worked on public holidays.

Authority staff Rachel Lamer investigated the claims and found SN Windows and Doors Ltd was not keeping accurate time and wage records. She said the company had "occasionally" paid the staff with "a few beers."

In her report, Lamer said Uasike's former employer did not follow New Zealand's statutory requirements for businesses. The company was found to have paid Uasike almost $5,000 which is less than the minimum wage for the duration of his employment. His dismissal was ruled "unjustifiable."

However, SN Windows and Doors Ltd claimed Uasike was never fired from the company. it said he did not show up for work. The report said the company paid Uasike his wages correctly while he was still an employee. The company also claimed he was not given holiday pay because his "employment" had not been officially ended.

Despite the conflicting statements between the two parties, the company was ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay the amount of $12,360.25 to Uasike as distress compensation, lost remuneration, shortfall in wages and unpaid holiday pays. The amount also covers legal and filing fees. 

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