Minimum pay

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The minimum wage applies to all paid employees 16 years-of-age and older, although there are different rates if your employee is 16 or 17 and is new to the workforce or if they are completing training.

Money with a window - 2010-06-02

As an employer, you’ll need to keep up-to-date with the latest minimum pay rates and pay your employees at least the current minimum rate. This rate stands even if your employee only works a few hours for you each week or has little responsibility at work.

The minimum wage

There are three separate wage rates:

  • The adult minimum wage
  • The new entrants’ minimum wage
  • The training minimum wage.

The adult minimum wage

The current adult minimum wage rate (before tax) is $13.50 an hour, which is $108.00 for an eight-hour day or $540.00 for a 40-hour week.

This applies to all employees aged 16 and over who aren’t new entrants or completing industry training. This is the minimum wage that applies to the majority of New Zealanders in paid employment.

The new entrants’ minimum wage

The current new entrants’ minimum wage rate (before tax) is $10.80 an hour, which is $86.40 for an eight-hour day or $432.00 for a 40-hour week.

This applies to employees aged 16 or 17 years-of-age, with some exceptions.

The new entrants’ minimum wage won’t apply if:

  • your employee has already worked more than 200 hours or three months in the workforce, either for you or another employer
  • your employee is supervising or training other workers, regardless of their job description or official duties
  • your employee is completing industry training.

The training minimum wage

The current training minimum wage rate (before tax) is $10.80 an hour, which is $86.40 for an eight-hour day or $432.00 for a 40-hour week.

This applies to employees aged 16 or over who are completing recognised industry training involving at least 60 credits per year.

Paying fairly

In addition to paying the legal minimum wage or higher, you’ll need to ensure your pay policies are as fair as possible.

It’s important to remember that waged employees need to be paid for actual hours worked. This means paying employees at least the minimum hourly wage for any extra time worked over an 8-hour day (accounting for meal and rest breaks).

Case study:

Jill owns a busy urban florist, employing two full-time staff. Jill’s store closes at 6pm each evening, but her staff are required to close the shop, count the money in the cash register, and prepare the shop for the next day. This means her staff usually leave around 6.20pm when the tasks are completed.

Jill pays her staff for an extra 20 minutes each day for the time that is spent closing up because it is over their standard eight hours work per day.

Paying employees fairly also means:

  • women and men must receive the same pay rates for doing the same or substantially similar work
  • you cannot discriminate on the basis of an employee’s colour, race, ethnic or national origins, gender (including pregnancy or childbirth status), marital or family status, age, disability, religious or ethical belief, political opinion, sexual orientation or union activity.

There is no statutory minimum wage for employees who are under 16 years of age.

A small amount of people hold an exemption from the minimum wage. You can find out more by visiting the Department of Labour’s website’s section on  minimum wage exemptions.

If you’re unsure how much you should be paying your employees, or you think you might be paying too little, you can contact the Department of Labour on 0800 20 90 20.

Find out more about Minimum employment rights, Holidays and entitlements or read our Focus on employees.

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