A new report was published this month about wage theft in New Zealand. New Zealand lawyer, Catriona MacLennan, has studied the issue and her findings can been seen in her report here, which she has given Stand Against Slavery (SAS) permission to publish.
MacLennan recommends higher penalties including imprisonment for offenders. She further suggests a ‘name and shame’ list of employers who breach minimum employment standards. The reports sights a partial list of wage theft cases between February 2014 and April 2017, which makes you realise how prevalent this issue is here in New Zealand.
SAS is pleased to see reference to the Human Trafficking Research Coalition’s research report that was published in December 2016. For more details on that report and recommendations please go here.
The connection between wage theft and worker exploitation, slavery and human trafficking can probably best be understood through the following image.
Along the spectrum from No Exploitation to Severe Exploitation wage theft may be found between low and severe. Based on our reading of this report we would suggest that it most likely falls somewhere in the pink area, and therefore is in the same space as our research.
SAS would strongly advocate that if you are experiencing some form of ‘wage theft’ you need to contact authorities and lay a complaint with Employment New Zealand [link | Phone: 0800 90 20 90 (NZ only)].