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Minimum Wage

Minimum wages in New Zealand are governed by the Minimum Wage Act 1983.

Section 5 of the Act provides for minimum wages to be reviewed annually by the Minister of Labour, without debate in Parliament.


See Also
Our Pay Rate Change Mid Period tutorial to handle situations where you need to pay different pay rates in the same pay period.

From 1st April 2014

  • From 1st April 2014 the adult rate is $14.25 an hour, and applies to all workers 18 years and over.
  • The new entrants minimum hourly rate increases to $11.40, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  • The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

24 February, 2014 Simon Bridges

The Government will lift the minimum wage from $13.75 to $14.25 an hour from April 1, Prime Minister John Key says.

The decision to lift the rate was made against the background of an improving economy, with a fall in unemployment to 6 per cent, he said.

But the Government was also mindful of the impact a rise would have on jobs.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges said the starting-out and training minimum wages would also increase, from $11 an hour to $11.40 an hour, which is 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

From 1st April 2013

  • From 1st April 2013 the adult rate is $13.75 an hour, and applies to all workers 18 years and over.
  • The new entrants minimum hourly rate increases to $11.00, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  • The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

26 February, 2013 Simon Bridges

Minimum wage increased

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today announced the minimum wage is to rise to $13.75.

The current wage rate is $13.50.

The training and new entrants' minimum wages will increase from $10.80 to $11, which is 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

"Setting these wage rates represents a careful balance between protecting low paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost as the economic recovery gains pace," says Mr Bridges.

"The Government is firmly focussed on growing the economy and boosting incomes. Through our Business Growth Agenda we are creating opportunities to help grow more jobs in New Zealand, for New Zealanders."

The new minimum wage rates will come into effect on 1 April 2013.

From 1st April 2012

  • From 1st April 2012 the adult rate is $13.50 an hour, and applies to all workers 18 years and over.
  • The new entrants minimum hourly rate increases to $10.80, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  • The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

8 February, 2012 Kate Wilkinson
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum wage increased to $13.50

The Government will increase the minimum wage from $13 to $13.50 an hour, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson announced today.

The training and new entrants minimum wages will increase from $10.40 to $10.80 (or 80% of the adult minimum wage).

"Those working full time on the minimum wage will earn an extra $20 a week or more than $1000 a year," Ms Wilkinson said.

"This increase strikes the right balance between protecting low paid workers and ensuring that jobs are not lost during these tough economic times."

"The Government is focused on growing the economy, creating jobs and boosting incomes for all New Zealanders."

The new minimum wage rates will come into effect on April 1, 2012.

From 1st April 2011

  • From 1st April 2011 the adult rate is $13.00 an hour, and applies to all workers 18 years and over.
  • The new entrants minimum hourly rate increases to $10.40, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  • The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

7 February, 2011 Kate Wilkinson
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum wage increased to $13

The Government has increased the minimum wage from $12.75 to $13, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson announced today.

The training and new entrants' minimum wages will increase from $10.20 to $10.40.

"This Government's focus when reviewing the minimum wage over this term has centred on the need to protect jobs while ensuring a fair wage.

"Since being elected, we have raised the minimum wage by $1 - which equates to $40 a week," Ms Wilkinson says.

"The 25c increase in conjunction with last year's tax cuts ensures that workers on the minimum wage have maintained the buying power of their wages.

"Taking a careful and balanced approach has helped prevent workers from being priced out of the market.

"The Government is intent on boosting jobs and creating an environment that is conducive to economic growth."

The new minimum wage rate will come into effect on April 1, 2011.

From 1st April 2010

  • From 1st April 2010 the adult rate is $12.75 an hour, and applies to all workers 18 years and over.
  • The new entrants minimum hourly rate increases to $10.20, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  • The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

27 January 2010 - Kate Wilkinson
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum Wage Increased to $12.75

The Government has moved to increase the minimum wage from $12.50 to $12.75 in line with the Consumer Price Index, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson announced today.

The training and new entrants' minimum wages will increase from $10 to $10.20

"The Government is focused on the need to find a balance between protecting jobs and ensuring a fair wage.

"We do not want to see workers priced out of the market, but we are confident that a 25c increase, in line with inflation, will not overly harm or discourage businesses from taking on new staff.

"The Government is working hard to provide the right environment for economic growth and ensuring workers can maintain the buying power of their wages is part of that," Ms Wilkinson says.

The new minimum wage rate will come into effect on April 1, 2010.

From 1st April 2009

  • From 1st April 2009 the adult rate is $12.50 an hour, and applies to all workers 18 years and over.
  • The new entrants minimum hourly rate increases to $10.00, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  • The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

9 February 2009 - Kate Wilkinson
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum Wage Increased to $12.50

The Government has moved to increase the minimum wage from $12 to $12.50 in line with the Consumer Price Index, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson announced today.

The training and new entrants' minimum wages will increase from $9.60 to $10.

"In reviewing the minimum wage it was clear that, given the current recession, we needed to find a balance between protecting jobs and fair pay for workers.

"We do not want to see workers priced out of the market during these difficult times, but we are confident that a 50c increase, in line with inflation, will not harm businesses.

"The Government is working hard to combat the effects of the economic downturn and ensuring workers can maintain the buying power of their wages is part of that," Ms Wilkinson says.

The new minimum wage rate will come into effect on April 1, 2009.

From 1st April 2008

  • From 1st April 2008 the adult rate is $12.00 an hour, and applies to all workers 18 years and over.
  • The youth minimum for employees aged 16 and 17 years ceases from 1 April 2008 and is replaced by a new entrants minimum hourly rate of $9.60, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
  • The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

19 December 2007 - Trevor Mallard
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Govt delivers early on $12 minimum wage promise

Labour Minister Trevor Mallard today announced an increase in the minimum wage to $12 an hour from next April for about 140,000 workers aged 16 and over around New Zealand.

"Thanks to the support of New Zealand First and the Green Party through their confidence and supply agreements, the government has delivered well ahead of time on the promise to 'lift the minimum wage to $12 an hour by the end of 2008, if economic conditions permit'," Trevor Mallard said.

"Under the Labour-led government, New Zealand's economy has been stronger for longer than at any point since the end of World War 2 and we are pleased to see that success flow through to workers.

"This increase will ensure that lower paid workers share the benefits of economic growth, it will encourage people to join the workforce and provide protection for some of New Zealand's most vulnerable workers.

"The changes to minimum wages are part of the Labour-led government's work to raise living standards across the board, and support higher quality working lives and productive workplaces. Our other initiatives focus on workplace productivity, and work-life balance. These include Working For Families, initiatives around labour and skills shortages, and the promotion of pay and employment equity. "

The minimum wage, which applies to people 16 years and over, will increase from April 1 2008 by 6.7 per cent, from $11.25 to $12.00 an hour ($480 for a 40 hour week).

The youth minimum rate of $9.00 per hour, for employees aged 16 and 17 years, will cease from 1 April 2008 and be replaced by a new entrants minimum hourly rate of $9.60, or 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage. The new entrants rate can be paid to 16 and 17 year olds for the first 200 hours or three months of employment, then the adult minimum wage applies.

"The replacement of the youth minimum rate with the new entrants rate was a Green Party initiative (private members bill by Sue Bradford) that the Labour-led government was very pleased to support."

The increase to $12.00/$9.60 will benefit around 102,400 adult workers aged 18 and over, most of whom are women, and around 38,300 16 and 17 year olds. A proportion of these younger workers would qualify for the new entrants rate for up to three months. The minimum training wage for industry trainees would also be increased by 60c to $9.60 an hour.

The Minister of Labour reviews minimum wage rates annually for adults, youth and trainees, seeking submissions from a wide range of organisations, including employer, union, Pacific, Maori and women's groups.

From 1st April 2007

  • From 1st April 2007 the adult rate is $11.25 an hour and the youth rate $9.00
  • Adult rates apply to all workers 18 years and over.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

18 December 2006 - Hon Ruth Dyson
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Largest minimum wage increase since 1999

Workers earning the minimum wage will receive a 9.8% pay rise from April 2007, Labour Minister Ruth Dyson announced today.

The minimum wage, which applies to people 18 years and over, will increase from $10.25 to $11.25 an hour ($450 for a 40 hour week) from 1 April 2007 - the largest increase since the Labour-led government came into office in 1999.

The youth minimum rate, for workers aged 16 and 17 years, will increase from $8.20 an hour to $9.00 an hour, to stay at 80% of the adult minimum wage. The minimum training wage will increase to the same rate

"The boost in the minimum wage will ensure that lower paid workers share the benefits of economic growth, encourage people to join the workforce and provide protection for some of New Zealand's most vulnerable workers," Ruth Dyson said.

"An increase to $11.25/$9.00 will benefit around 110,000 adult workers, most of whom are women, and around 9,200 youth workers. It can be made with confidence in the current economic and labour market conditions, without being at the expense of jobs."

"With four months till the changes come into effect, businesses will have time to prepare. The date of 1 April was chosen to reduce compliance costs for businesses as it will coincide with the implementation date of four weeks' annual holidays."

The Minister of Labour reviews minimum wage rates annually for adults, youth and trainees, seeking submissions from a wide range of organisations, including employer, union, Pacific, Maori and women's groups.

Ruth Dyson said the Labour-led government's goal is for the adult minimum wage to reach $12 an hour by the end of 2008, if economic conditions permit.

Changes to minimum wages are part of a wider mix of approaches from the Labour-led government to support higher quality working lives and productive workplaces. These approaches include workplace productivity, work-life balance, Working For Families, initiatives around labour and skills shortages, and the promotion of pay and employment equity.

From 27th March 2006

  • From 27th March 2006 the adult rate is $10.25 an hour and the youth rate $8.20
  • Adult rates apply to all workers 18 years and over.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

21 December 2005 - Hon Ruth Dyson
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum wage to increase

Workers earning the minimum wage will receive a pay rise of nearly eight per cent from March 2006, Labour Minister Ruth Dyson announced today.

The minimum adult wage, which applies to people over 18 years, will increase from $9.50 to $10.25 an hour from 27 March 2006, the largest increase since the Labour -led government came into office in 1999.

The minimum youth wage - for workers aged 16 and 17 years - will also increase by nearly eight per cent, from $7.60 to $8.20 per hour, to stay at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage. The minimum training wage will increase to the same rate.

"The boost in the minimum wage will ensure that lower paid workers share the benefits of economic growth, encourage people to join the workforce and provide protection for some of New Zealand's most vulnerable workers," Ruth Dyson said.

"The latest increase will benefit around 91,000 adult workers, most of whom are women, and around 10,000 youth workers. It can be made with confidence in the current economic and labour market conditions, without being at the expense of jobs."

"With three months till the changes come into effect, businesses will have time to prepare for the changes."

The Minister of Labour reviews minimum wage rates annually for adults, youth and trainees, seeking submissions from a wide range of organisations, including employer, union, Pacific, Maori and women's groups.

Ruth Dyson said the government's goal is for the adult minimum wage to reach $12 an hour by the end of 2008, if economic conditions permit.

From 21st March 2005

  • From 21st March 2005 the adult rate is $9.50 an hour and the youth rate $7.60
  • Adult rates apply to all workers 18 years and over.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

21 December 2004
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum wage increase

The minimum wage will increase from $9 to $9.50 per hour from 21 March 2005, Labour Minister Paul Swain announced today.

The Labour-led government has increased the minimum wage every year since 1999.

This boost to low wage earners has not been at the expense of jobs, as minimum wage increases have kept pace with strong economic growth over the same period, Paul Swain said.

It is important that minimum wage rates remain high enough to provide a realistic incentive to work, relative to a benefit. We believe this increase provides the right balance between benefits for low-income workers while minimising negative impacts for employers.

The minimum hourly rate for workers aged 16 and 17 years will move from $7.20 to $7.60 an hour, to keep it at 80% of the adult minimum wage. The minimum training wage, which is set at the level of the minimum youth wage, will move to the same rate.

These changes will benefit about 35,000 adult workers and 6,500 youth workers.

The increase in the minimum wage will also complement other government objectives, such as the working for families assistance package, designed to ensure that families with dependent children are always better off when in work.

From 1st April 2004

  • From 1st April 2004 the adult rate is $9.00 an hour and the youth rate $7.20
  • Adult rates apply to all workers 18 years and over.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

23 February 2004
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum wage increase

New Zealand's lowest paid workers will receive a 5.9% pay increase from 1 April, following changes to the minimum wage announced today by Labour Minister Margaret Wilson.

"These changes affect nearly 30,000 people who earn the lowest wages in New Zealand. The economy is going well and the labour market is tight, so now is the time to help those at the bottom and to encourage people to join the workforce.

"It is important that minimum wage rates remain high enough to provide a realistic incentive to work, relative to a benefit. The increase in the minimum wage will also complement changes to be announced in the Budget designed to ensure that families with dependent children are always better off when in work.

"We believe we have made a balanced choice that maximises benefits for low-income workers while minimising negative impacts for employers," Margaret Wilson said.

The minimum adult wage will move from $8.50 an hour to $9.00 an hour in a move designed to keep minimum wages in proportion with the average wage, and to ensure that the minimum wage rate continues to provide an incentive to work for those currently on benefits. The minimum adult wage applies to all workers aged 18 and over.

The minimum youth wage will also increase, to keep it at 80% of the adult minimum wage. The minimum hourly rate for workers aged 16 and 17 will move from $6.80 to $7.20. The minimum training wage, which is set at the level of the minimum youth wage, will move at the same rate.

The increases will directly affect just under 20,000 adult workers, less than 1.5% of the adult working population. Around 7,000 young workers will be directly affected by the increase in the minimum youth wage.

From 24th March 2003

  • From 24th March 2003 the adult rate is $8.50 an hour and the youth rate $6.80
  • Adult rates apply to all workers 18 years and over.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

19 December 2002
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Boost for low-paid workers and youth

Low paid workers will receive a 6.25 per cent boost in income following changes to minimum wage rates announced today by Labour Minister Margaret Wilson.

From 24 March next year, the adult minimum wage rate will increase from $8.00 per hour to $8.50 and will apply to all workers aged 18 years and over.

The youth minimum wage rate, applying to 16 and 17-year-olds, will increase from $6.40 to $6.80 at the same time.

Margaret Wilson said the new rates reflect the Labour-led Government's ongoing commitment to maintaining a fair, robust and socially acceptable set of minimum employment standards for the benefit of all New Zealanders, but particularly the low paid.

The latest changes to minimum wage rates are estimated to benefit 27,400 adult workers and about 7,100 16 and 17-year-olds.

"The increased rates will have a minimal effect on employment levels given the current low level of unemployment and the strong demand for labour," Margaret Wilson said.

From 18th March 2002

  • From 18th March 2002 the adult rate is $8.00 an hour and the youth rate $6.40
  • Adult rates apply to all workers 18 years and over.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

30 January 2002
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum wage to increase - fairer deal for low-paid workers and youth

Low paid workers will receive a boost in income following changes to minimum wage rates announced today by the Minister of Labour, Hon Margaret Wilson.

The Government has agreed to increase the adult minimum wage rate by 3.9 per cent from $7.70 per hour to $8.00 per hour, in line with annual average wage growth. The annual average wage grew 3.4 per cent in the year August 2000 to August 2001, implying a minimum wage rate of $7.96. Rounding this up to $8.00 will make it easier for employers by minimizing compliance costs and at the same time help increase recognition of the minimum wage rate. The increase will apply to all workers aged 18 years and over.

The youth minimum wage rate, applying to 16 and 17-year-olds, will increase from $5.40 to $6.40. The larger increase in youth rates reflects the Government's earlier decision to increase the youth minimum wage rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the adult rate.

It is estimated the increase in the adult minimum wage will affect 5,500 adult workers. The increase in youth minimum wage rates is estimated to affect about 6,900 16 and 17-year-olds.

"Since taking office the Labour/Alliance Government has made significant progress in ensuring minimum wages are fair," Ms Wilson said.

"Since the start of 2000 the Government has brought the youth minimum wage into closer relativity with the adult minimum wage, lowered the age of eligibility for the adult minimum wage from 20 to 18 years in line with other policy areas, and restored the value of the adult minimum wage relative to the average wage."

Following this year's increase, minimum wages for youth will have risen by $2.20 per hour since the start of 2000 (from $4.20 to $6.40 this year). For adults the increase has been $1.00 per hour from $7.00 at the start of 2000 to $8.00 this year. Those aged 18 and 19 years have benefited to an even greater extent in making the jump from youth to adult minimum wages in 2001.

This year will also see the implementation of the training minimum wage once the Minimum Wage Amendment Bill comes into force. This will remove the current training exemption requiring the payment of minimum wage rates and replace it with a training minimum wage in line with the youth minimum wage of $6.40. This will apply if an employment agreement includes a certain level of relevant training towards a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework.

This year's changes to minimum wage rates will come into force on 18 March 2002.

From 5th March 2001

  • From 5th March 2001 adult rate is $7.70 an hour and youth rate is $5.40
  • Eligibility lowered so that adult rates apply to all workers 18 years and over.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

14 December 2000
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Minimum wages to increase - a fairer deal for youth

New Zealand workers on the lowest rates of pay will receive an income boost in 2001, Minister of Labour Margaret Wilson and Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harre announced today.

The Government has agreed to increase the adult minimum wage by 2% to $7.70 an hour, lower the age of eligibility for the adult minimum wage from 20 to 18, and increase the youth minimum wage for 16 and 17 year olds to 70% of the adult minimum wage that is, $5.40 an hour in March 2001, and to 80% of the adult minimum wage, that is $6.15 an hour in March 2002.

The current minimum wage is $7.55 an hour for employees over 20. For workers aged 16 to 19, the current minimum wage is $4.55 an hour (60% of the adult rate).

The coalition has also agreed to replace training exemptions with a training minimum wage at the rate applying to 16 and 17 year olds - $5.40 next year and $6.15 in 2002 .

At the moment employers are exempt from paying minimum wage rates if an employment agreement includes a certain level of relevant training towards a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework.

Margaret Wilson and Laila Harre said the minimum wage rate is being increased by the amount of average wage growth in the past year.

"Lowering the threshold for the adult minimum wage to 18 will help ensure that low-paid young people receive wages that are fair," the Ministers said.

"These improvements bring the age of eligibility for adult rates into line with other policies for youth, particularly the community wage and New Zealand's obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child."

An increase in the adult minimum wage to $7.70 an hour will mean wage increases for around 7000 people. The lowering of the threshold for the adult minimum wage will affect about 9000 18 and 19 year olds, and increasing the youth rate to 70% of the adult rate will mean pay rises for about 4,500 16 and 17 year olds.

The changes will come into force on March 5 2001.

From 6th March 2000

  • From 6th March 2000 adult rate is $7.55 and youth rate is $4.55
  • Minimum wage prior to 6th March 2000 is $7.00 for adults and $4.20 for youths.
  • Youth rates apply if under 20 years of age.
  • Amounts are gross before tax.

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