SkyCity to increase its minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2020

Company signals move to get ahead of 2021 minimum wage legislation. 

Casino group SkyCity says it will pay its New Zealand staff at least $20 an hour by 2020, a move that will improve wages for nearly half of its employees.

The company employs 4000 people, with about 1750 people based in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown benefiting from the higher hourly rate.

The initiative will be phased in over the next three years and increase the hourly rate of its lowest-paid staff by 21%.

The government's statutory minimum wage is $15.75 and will rise to $16.50 from April, the biggest increase since 2008.

The government has signalled it will raise this to $20 by 2021.

“I’m pleased our plans appear to align with government policy in this area, and that we are able to achieve this earlier,’’ chief executive Graeme Stephens says in a statement.

The company says it’s the first major listed New Zealand company to make the commitment. Hamilton City Council also voted this week to increase its minimum wage to $20 progressively by $1 a year for the next four years.

Under SkyCity's new wage plan staff earning less than $20 an hour will see their pay packets boosted by an average of 7% every year between now and 2020. Existing entitlements and wage agreements will remain unchanged.

Unite Union spokesman John Crocker says other companies should follow SkyCity and introduce the higher wages before the legislation forces them to act.

Last month the company reported a 12% boost to half-year net profit for the six months to December, at $93.5 million, up from $83.8m in the same period a year earlier.

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