Food chain fined $41k for underpaying staff

An Indian restaurant chain has copped more than $40,000 in fines for paying staff less than the minimum wage and not giving holiday pay, despite being warned before.

Shamiana Limited and sole director and owner Satish Shetty have been handed a fine of $41,000 for several breaches to employment law, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says.

That's despite the company having paid staff back more than $24,000 in arrears over previous breaches.

"It was surprising that, even after several complaints to the Inspectorate, Mr Shetty was not deterred from underpaying his staff," Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne said.

"One of the breaches uncovered was for unpaid work trials for staff - a practise that's illegal."

The chain has 120 employees at about 22 restaurants across New Zealand and the complaints of the company "not upholding his staffs' basic employment rights" go back to 2015.

"The continuous nature of these breaches, despite remediation at the time, shows that Mr Shetty wasn't taking his obligations as an employer of 120 staff seriously," Mr Milne said.

Such offending was not only mistreatment of staff, but also gave companies an unfair advantage over law-abiding competitors, he said.