Dunedin bakery owner instructed to cough up nearly $300,000 after employees work 80 hour weeks, only paid for 40

Romeeco Bakery.
Romeeco Bakery. Photo credit: Google Maps

A bakery owner in Dunedin has been ordered to repay more than $300,000 for not paying employees the right wages, holiday pay and sick leave.

Romeeco Bakery was investigated by the labour inspectorate, which found wages being paid "did not meet the applicable statutory minimum wage rate when having regard to the total number of hours worked".

The employer, bakery owner Anesly Joy Samuel, didn't keep timesheets and was only paying employees for 40 hours per week when they working over 80.

While Samuel requested permanent non-publication, the Employment Relations Authority says there's a high public interest in the case and "errant behaviour of the type… should not be shielded from the public gaze".

Labour inspectorate southern regional manager Jeanie Borsham said there were several "aggravating features in this case that warranted the imposition of penalties at the higher end of the scale".

Three affected employees were repaid $141,038.24 for wage, holiday and sick leave arrears, while Samuel was also told to pay the workers an additional $19,000 in penalties.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said Samuel also had to pay penalties of $139,000 to the Crown.