Workers' rights activist appalled at jobs advertised for less than minimum wage

Workers' rights activist appalled at jobs advertised for less than minimum wage
Photo credit: Backpacker Board

A workers' rights activist has publicly shamed employers who are advertising work for below the minimum wage on a backpacking website.

Chloe Ann-King, who is backpacking around New Zealand, went online to find some casual work to help fund her trip. 

She was horrified to find a number of jobs, including housekeeping work, seasonal fruit picking and general farm hand jobs, being advertised on the website Backpacker Board for less than minimum wage of $16.50 per hour. 

Workers' rights activist appalled at jobs advertised for less than minimum wage
Photo credit: Backpacker Board

Around 600 jobs are advertised on the website - one house cleaning job was being advertised at a rate of $15.75 an hour - the previous minimum wage.

Ms King said she doesn't believe the advertised pay on any of the jobs are an innocent mistake. 

"It's a lot more blatant than what I thought, I knew it would be there anyway.

"It [minimum wage] goes up the exact same time each year, I find it really hard to believe they didn't know."

One employer Newshub spoke with said she was overseas tending to her sick mother and was unaware in the change in minimum wage.

"It was a genuine oversight, a genuine mistake."

She said all of her employees were paid between $17 and $19 per hour and were always given their eight percent holiday pay.

Workers' rights activist appalled at jobs advertised for less than minimum wage
Photo credit: Backpacker Board

"You own a business, you should know... I think some of it might be laziness," Ms King says.

She says she would not stop campaigning until she saw fair rights for workers.

"I am willing to take bullet after bullet until this changes."

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Labour Inspectorate national manager Stu Lumsden said everyone working in New Zealand is entitled to at least the minimum wage for every hour worked. 

He says anything less than this is "unacceptable".

"It is possible for businesses to deduct from wages the reasonable costs of accommodation provided to an employee where that has been agreed in writing.

"This accommodation agreement should be separate to the employment agreement."

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway says employers need to make sure they are aware of their obligations, and they know what the minimum wage is.

"There may be some confusion in some of these advertisements, with such things like accommodation wrapped into the equation.

"But regardless, employers need to know that they do have obligations under the law - and that ignorance of the law is no defence."

Those posting on these boards should be aware that the Labour Inspectorate have proactively visited businesses which advertised for less than the minimum wage.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz