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A construction company has been instructed to disburse over $125,000 to a former employee and the Crown for violating minimum employment standards.

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Huiyun Ling served as a safety manager at SDCIC NZ Construction since its inception in 2018. Ling initiated an investigation with the Employment Relations Authority when he did not receive his salary or holiday pay and accused the company of breaching its duty of good faith.

In 2018, SDCIC had a contract for a construction project at a hotel site in Auckland. This project was managed by four directors from China, a management team of 10 individuals (including the four directors), and around 40 construction workers.

In February 2020, the construction project was terminated, and SDCIC was instructed to vacate the hotel site. Ling reported that the acting director, known as Mr. Yin, also left New Zealand due to a visa issue.

After liquidating the company’s assets, Hua Wu became the sole director in March 2020 and applied for Covid-19 wage subsidies. Ling received two subsidy payments totaling $3920.

However, starting from June 2020, Ling received no salary or any other payments from SDCIC. He began working as a self-employed accountant in February 2021.

Ling’s employment agreement stated that his employment was fixed-term and would conclude when the hotel project was completed. Although the hotel project ended in February 2020, he remained employed to help the company sell SDCIC vehicles to raise funds for the remaining employees.

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Despite this, Ling received no salary payments and was not offered any further work by SDCIC after June 2020. Wu did not respond to his inquiries about wage and salary payments.

Eleanor Robinson, a member of the Employment Relations Authority, found that Ling did not receive any notice entitlement when his employment with SDCIC ended. He was owed unpaid wages from January to August 2020, had not utilized his annual leave entitlement, and was not given the required four weeks’ notice of the termination of his employment.

Additionally, SDCIC was discovered to have failed to maintain time and wage records.

Robinson issued an order for SDCIC and/or Wu to pay $6,923.07 for the unpaid notice period, $56,080 in unpaid salary, $15,200 for unpaid annual leave, and $40,000 to the Crown for neglecting to provide wage and time records, with $4,000 to be paid to Ling.