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Thread: Can my son's employer legally keep his wages?

  1. #1
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    Question Can my son's employer legally keep his wages?

    My 16-year-old son has worked part-time for a local Fresh Choice supermarket for the last 18 months. Last week (for some unknown reason he won't divulge) he decided to jack in the job, and handed back his uniform.
    His normal pay-day is a Wednesday, and his average wage is about $70. However, he had worked a considerable amount of overtime the week previous, and was due to pick up about $200. No wages have been paid. He has asked his direct manager why this is, and he has told my son to speak to the Franchise owner who occassionally visist the store (so far my son hasn't been able to speak to her). He spoke to a duty-manager today, who has told my son that he won't get any wages as he didn't work 2 weeks notice.

    1) Is this right about witholding the notice period wages?
    2)Would they still have to pay my son the holiday money he has accrued?

    Cheers,
    John

  2. #2
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    Does not sound very fair to me, but this site will probably help you find the legal answer and take it from there?

    http://www.ers.govt.nz/pay/

  3. #3
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    Don't know about NZ but in Uk would be called unlawful deduction of wages. He would not be entitled to notice period wages as he didn't give any.
    Holiday is accruable and payable - but in some contracts of employment a full month must be worked in order to accue for that particular month. e.g. if 6 months 2 weeks worked may only be entitled to 6 months pro rata, the 2 weeks is not counted.

    Hope that helps

  4. #4
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    same in US, it is an unlawful deduction...

  5. #5
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    As regards the deduction in lieu of notice, it is allowed if and only if it is stated in his employment agreement. This will in any case only apply to his usual pay, not the overtime.
    See http://www.ers.govt.nz/relationships...ml#resignation

    He is also entitled to holiday pay for the period he worked if it has not already been paid it and it has been given a separate line on his payslip.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jubjub View Post
    Does not sound very fair to me, but this site will probably help you find the legal answer and take it from there?

    http://www.ers.govt.nz/pay/
    Thanks Sal,
    took a look at the site and:
    The Holidays Act 2003 entitles an employee to a minimum of four weeks of annual holidays after working for one year. The purpose of this is to provide the employee with time off work for rest and recreation. Receiving money in exchange for not taking the leave would be against the intentions of the Holidays Act, even if the employer and the employee both agree. Following from this point, holiday pay can only be paid when:
    • the employee takes the holiday (and the payment must be proportional to the amount of leave taken); or
    • on the termination of their employment
    So it seems that at the verty least he should get his holiday pay - according to his last wage slip this was $50.39. Not sure what to do now, as he needs to fight his own battles (he still hasn't told me why he quit the job). However, I think he will have problems with this particular franchise owner...

    John

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by anna_c View Post
    As regards the deduction in lieu of notice, it is allowed if and only if it is stated in his employment agreement. This will in any case only apply to his usual pay, not the overtime.
    See http://www.ers.govt.nz/relationships...ml#resignation

    He is also entitled to holiday pay for the period he worked if it has not already been paid it and it has been given a separate line on his payslip.
    Thanks Anna.
    Joe (my son) never got a copy of his agreement as far as I know. He did have to sign something, but he never had a copy. He was promised one when he first started, but it never materialised.

    Yes the holiday pay is on a seperate line.

    I do distinctly remember when Joe first started he brought home a dog-eared staff rule book on strict loan for a day. I scoured it carefully from cover to cover, and discovered that he was entitled to staff discount. However, when I asked the owner about this (after waiting patiently in the middle of the supermarket for several minutes) I was given a very public and dismissive put-down 'that doesn't apply to part-timers' (not stated in the staff book). Hmmm, I thought, these arn't particularly friendly owner-operators. The lack of discount didn't paticularly bother me as their prices are more than (staff-discount) 10% higher than my local Pak-n-Save, but I didn't like the public dressing-down.
    Cheers,
    John

  8. #8
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    From everything you've said, it doesn't sound like a place your son would be happy working at anyway, whatever his reasons for quitting were! I hope it all works out, and he finds a nicer job.
    Ana

  9. #9
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    Doesn't sound like he is going to get his money without a fight

    I had an employer do this to me when I was 16 .. my crime? I handed in my notice as I was due to go to college. I worked my notice and at the end of the week there were no wages for me. The 'Manager' of the store just said I'd have to go to the other shop and collect them .. so I did. They told me he was busy so I said I'd wait and basically he got bored hiding from me as I obviously wasn't going to go away... so he sent my wage packet out with a member of staff.

    I don't know the law here in NZ but this sounds entirely wrong .. your son will need to be persistant and probably make a fuss but he will feel good about it when he gets his money. Do they have citizen's advice here? Maybe he could check it out .. As a last resort he could always stand outside the store with a petition for the locals to sign .. I reckon they might pay up quite quickly just to get rid of the 'problem' .. and you know the local papers here never have anything decent to write about, they'd probably love a good local scandal.

    As a start I would say that if it is the Franchise Manager that is withholding the money then she should at least speak to your son herself and stop avoiding him.

    Another thought, as it's a Franchise maybe contact the Head Office .. I doubt they'd be impressed by the situation and could force the Franchise Manager to 'deal with it'.

    I hope he get's it sorted .. and as already mentioned, he is best off out of it!

    Dawn

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by debnjohn View Post
    Last week (for some unknown reason he won't divulge) he decided to jack in the job
    Hi there,

    This is a really tricky situation to be in, especially if he doesn't have a copy of the contract he signed, although I'm sure the company are leagally obligued to provide him with a copy of his contract. Once he has that he can go through it with a fine-tooth comb to check the conditions regarding either party breaking the contract (which it sounds like your son has done). I'd also try and get to the bottom of why he actually left without giving his notice before embarking on any publicity.

    I hope you get it all sorted and he gets his money back

    Milliemoo

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