Minimum wage to increase to $16.50 per hour

The Government will increase the minimum wage by 75 cents to $16.50 per hour on 1 April 2018, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced today.

“The Government is committed to a high-performing economy that delivers good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.

“The increase to $16.50 per hour will benefit approximately 164,000 workers and their families, and will increase wages throughout the economy by $129 million per year.

“Raising the minimum wage to $16.50 next year was one of the Government’s top priorities for the first 100 days, and we are committed to increasing the minimum wage to $20 by 2021.

“I’m delighted that in time for Christmas 164,000 Kiwi workers at the lowest pay grade can look forward to a lift in their conditions from 1 April next year.

“It is important that we achieve this goal in a fiscally responsible way, which is why we are signalling to employers in advance of our plans to incrementally raise the minimum wage and spread the increases as evenly as possible each year.

“We will continue to review the minimum wage each year, and economic conditions will be taken into account when setting the new rate of the minimum wage. This consistency gives employers and employees certainty, and minimises potential negative effects of increasing the minimum wage too sharply.

“These changes are a part of this Government’s wider workplace relations policy platform, which is about backing fair pay and conditions, and ensuring those on lower incomes get to share in our economic prosperity.

“To that end, within the first 12 months of this Government’s term we will abolish starting-out rates and consider changes to the training wage. In the meantime, these rates will continue to be at 80 per cent of the minimum wage, increasing to $13.20 per hour,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.