Ph: 09 430 0113

The minimum wage 2017

The Government announced that the adult minimum wage has risen by 50 cents to $15.75 an hour from 1 April 2017.

The starting-out and training hourly minimum wage rates will also increase from $12.20 to $12.60 per hour from 1 April 2017.

There are three minimum wage rates:

The adult minimum wage applies to all employees aged 16 and over who are not starting-out workers or trainees, and to all employees who are involved in supervising or training other employees. The employee doesn’t have to have direct line management responsibility for other employees. The supervising or training requirement needs to be part and parcel of that employee’s job, not an isolated event.

The starting-out wage applies to workers who are:

  • 16- and 17-year-old employees who have not yet completed six months of continuous employment with their current employer.
  • 18- and 19-year-old employees who have been paid a specified social security benefit for six months or more, and who have not yet completed six months’ continuous employment with any employer since they started being paid a benefit. Once they have completed six months’ continuous employment with a single employer, they will no longer be a starting-out worker, and must be paid at least the adult minimum wage rate.
  • 16- to 19-year-old employees who are required by their employment agreement to undertake industry training for at least 40 credits a year in order to become qualified.

Note: Six months of continuous employment with an employer is calculated from the first day of work, irrespective of the number of hours worked per week. The calculation should include any time the employee was employed by their employer before they turned 16 and any time the employee was on leave, paid or unpaid. Should an employee move to a new employer, they will be viewed as a starting-out worker again for the first six months. This will apply with each new employer until they reach the maximum age.

The training minimum wage applies to employees aged 20 years or over who are doing recognised industry training involving at least 60 credits a year as part of their employment agreement, in order to become qualified. Many of these employees will be apprentices. They have the same rights under employment law as any other employee but may be paid at the lower training wage instead of the adult minimum wage. This only applies to employees doing an approved industry training programme. It doesn’t apply to those employees who are supervising or training others – they must be paid at least the adult minimum wage.

For employees aged under 16

There is no minimum wage for employees aged under 16 but all other employment rights and entitlements still apply. When looking at whether an employee who is 16 years or older is a starting-out worker, any time spent employed by an employer before the employee turned 16 must be included when calculating the time that employee has been continuously employed.

You can’t be paid less than the minimum wage

Employers and employees may agree to any wage rate as long as it is not less than the applicable minimum wage rate. Starting-out workers must be paid at least the minimum starting-out wage rate, and trainees over 20 years of age must be paid at least the training minimum wage rate.

A small number of people hold an exemption from the minimum wage (see the section about minimum wage exemptions).