Maharey Messes Up On Minimum Wage

  • Max Bradford

"Recent comments made by Opposition industrial relations spokesperson Steve Maharey are misleading and mischievous" Minister of Labour Max Bradford said today.

"Mr Maharey fails to acknowledge that the exemptions under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 provide people with the opportunity to work and gain experience they may not otherwise obtain and to better equip them for future employment in higher paid work..

"By far the majority of adult employees and youth employees earn well above the adult and youth minimum wage rates of $7.00 and $4.20 per hour," said Mr Bradford.

"While the percentage of those earning less than the minimum wage has remained virtually the same for some years before, and since, the introduction of the ECA, I am concerned if there are employers paying less than the minimum wage. The Department of Labour can act in this situation, but people must be aware of their rights. If they are in any doubt about their rights they should contact the Department on 0800-800-863," said Mr Bradford.

It is possible for an adult to be paid less than the minimum wage due to certain exemptions. Exemptions under the 1983 Minimum Wage Act are:

trainees undergoing industry training as specified in the Minimum Wage (Training in the Nature of Apprenticeship) Regulations 1992;
full-time university students employed during holidays to obtain practical experience related to their studies;
holders of under-rate worker permits
persons undergoing certain training in some professions.
"Since the ECA's introduction, numbers of people in employment have soared. About 250,000 new jobs have been created. This is a vast improvement on the previous six years when the Labour government destroyed the jobs of 110,000 New Zealanders," Mr Bradford said.