Minimum wage increased 25c to $12.75 an hour
The government has lifted the minimum wage from $12.50 to $12.75 an hour in line with inflation, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson said today.“The government is focused on the need to find a balance between protecting jobs and ensuring a fair wage.&
Wed, 27 Jan 2010
The government has lifted the minimum wage from $12.50 to $12.75 an hour in line with inflation, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson said today.
“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 new minimum wage rate will come into effect on April 1.
The National Distribution Union has slated the 25c an hour increase saying the government has missed an opportunity to assist low income workers make ends meet, and stimulate the faltering economic recovery, by putting more money in workers pockets.
“The government has said it wants to close the wage gap with Australia but this will see us drop further behind," union head Robert Reid said.
“Too many New Zealand employers are stuck in the pattern of short sighted thinking on pay rates that has seen us fall so far behind Australia. This is not going to change unless the Government takes a real leadership role by substantially lifting the minimum wage.”
Mr Reid said the NDU will continue to back the Unite union initiated referenda campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour immediately and keep lifting it until it reaches two thirds of the average wage.
Business NZ said the current environment makes adjusting the minimum wage a difficult balancing act and today’s increase of 25 cents is probably reasonable in the circumstances.
Chief executive Phil O’Reilly said given the government’s policy of continuing to increase the minimum wage, there were three main factors to consider.
“First, there is the issue of what businesses can bear – too high an increase could be a break-point for those already struggling with slim margins and low demand.
“Then there is the comparative fact that thousands of other workers have not had any wage increase at all and may not get one in the foreseeable future.
“Third, the government will want to ensure a level of protection for people with low or no skills and would not want them missing out on employment because the minimum wage was set too high.
“At a time of continuing unemployment, with a minimum wage increase similar to the rate of inflation, the government’s decision is reasonably balanced," he said.
Wed, 27 Jan 2010
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