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An increase in the minimum wage is due to begin on 1st April 2022.

Small business owners who employ staff on the minimum wage will have to increase wages  accordingly.

If employers pay at the current minimum wage rates, they should start forecasting the increase to their wages bill and increase in pay from 1 April 2022.

These are the new minimum wage rates as at 1st April 2022

Adult Minimum Wage – $21.20 Per Hour

This applies to all the employees who are 16 years of age or older, provided they do not qualify for the starting out or training wages.

Starting-Out Wage – $16.96 Per Hour

Workers aged 16-19 who are entering the workforce for the first time.

  • This only applies to 16 and 17 year olds during the first 6 months of their employment. Or 18 or 19 year olds who have been on a specific welfare benefit for 6 months or more prior to their employment – and only for their first 6 months of continuous employment following them being on a benefit
  • It also applies to 16 – 19 year olds if they are doing at least 40 credits in an industry training program just like the training minimum wage

Training Minimum Wage – $16.96 Per Hour

This category of wage applies to employees aged 20 years or over who are completing recognised/accepted industry training involving at least 60 credits in order to become qualified.

Why have a minimum wage?

New Zealand was the first country in the world to establish a Minimum Wage Policy in 1894, although the idea of a minimum wage has been around a lot longer.

Minimum wage laws have been modified over time to provide equal pay and fairness in the workplace, while aiming to increase the standard of living and reduce poverty.

The argument for and against the minimum wage, and what rate it should be set at is still heavily debated to this day.

How often does the minimum wage change?

Each year the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety fulfils their obligation under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 to submit an annual review of the minimum wage by 31 December. Since 2000, the New Zealand minimum wage has increased on a yearly basis for each type of minimum pay including adults, new entrants and trainees.

Who does the minimum wage apply to?

Minimum wage rates apply to all employees aged 16 years and older who are full-time, part-time, fixed-term, casual, and work from home.

The minimum wage standard applies to employees who are paid an hourly wage and salary, and most employees who earn a commission or piece rates.

There are employees who are exempt from the standards of the Minimum Wage Act 1983.

They include:

  • employees under 16 years (but they are still entitled to other minimum employment rights)
  • some disabled employees who hold an exemption permit from the minimum wage
  • inmates of a charitable institution
  • prisoners working in custody under the Corrections
  • apprentices who are under: the Māori Housing Amendment Act 1938, the New Zealand Railways Corporation Act 1981, the Defence Act 1971, the Post Office Act 1959, the State Services Act 1962, or under any other Act.

If you have any queries about the minimum wage increase, please give us a call.

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