Employment Relations Act 2000, Public Act No 24 of 2000, dated 19 August 2000, as reprinted 1 July 2011. Published by New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office at http://legislation.govt.nz/ and accessed 17 November 2011.
Minimum Wage Act 1983, No.115 of 1983, Official Gazette, Acts, No. 115, as reprinted 1 April 2008. Published by New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office at http://legislation.govt.nz/ and accessed 17 November 2011.
Wages Protection Act 1983, Public Act 143 of 1983 dated 16 December 1983 as reprinted 1 July 2003. Published by New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office at http://legislation.govt.nz/ and accessed 17 November 2011.
Worker means any person of any age employed by an employer to do any work for hire or reward under a contract of service, including a homeworker. Volunteers who are not, and do not expect to be, rewarded for work performed as a volunteer and film production workers are excluded from this definition.
Employer means a person employing any worker or workers, and includes a person engaging or employing a homeworker.
Minimum Wage Act 1983 §2
MINIMUM WAGE FIXING
Government decides alone
The Governor-General sets the minimum wage rate by Order in Council, following an annual review by, and recommendations from, the Ministry of Labour.
Minimum Wage Act 1983 §§4, 5
The legislation does not stipulate criteria to be applied by the Ministry of Labour when conducting its annual review of the minimum wage rate, or making recommendations regarding the appropriate adjustments to the Governor-General.
Minimum Wage Act 1983
The Minimum Wage Act applies to all persons employed by an employer to do any work for hire or reward under a contract of service, including homeworkers, new entrants and trainees, but excluding persons engaged as apprentices, inmates of charitable institutions, volunteers or film production workers.
The following categories of workers are excluded from the Minimum Wages Act: (i) apprentices under apprenticeship contracts (as defined by the Industry Training Act 1992); (ii) apprentices bound by an indenture of apprenticeship entered into under any Act (including the Maori Housing Amendment Act, the New Zealand Railways Corporation Act, the Defence Act, the Post Office Act and the State Services Act); (iii) inmates of charitable institutions who, as such inmates, do any work in or in connection with the institution; (iv) volunteers who do not expect, and are not, rewarded for the work they perform as a volunteer; and (v) persons engaged in film production work as an actor, voice-over actor, stand-in, body double, stunt performer, extra, singer, musician, dancer, entertainer or in any other capacity, unless the person is covered by a written agreement that provides the person is an employee.
» Minimum wage levels for specific categories of workers
The Minimum Wage Act contemplates a separate minimum rate of wages being set for workers (other than workers engaged under statutory apprenticeship programmes) who are employed under contracts of service under which they are required to undergo training, instruction or examination for the purpose of becoming qualified for the occupation to which their contract of service relates.
Minimum Wage Act 1983 §§4(1)(c), 9(a), 9(b)
Remarks: The Minimum Wage Order 2011 sets the following minimum rates of wages for trainees: (a) if paid by the hour or by piecework - $10.40 per hour; (b) if paid by the day - $83.20 per day, and $10.40 per hour for each hour exceeding 8 hours worked on a day; (c) in all other cases - $416 per week, and $10.40 per hour for each hour exceeding 40 hours worked in a week.
A Labour Inspector may issue a minimum wage exemption permit, and stipulate an alternative rate of wages that must be paid to a worker, if the Inspector is satisfied that: (a) the worker is significantly and demonstrably limited by a disability in carrying out the requirements of his or her work; (b) any reasonable accommodations that could have been made to facilitate carrying out the requirements of the work have been considered by the employer and the worker; and (c) it is reasonable and appropriate to do so.
Minimum Wage Act 1983 §8(1), (4)
» Other categories
The Minimum Wage Act contemplates a separate minimum rate of wages being set for workers who are new entrants to the labour market, being workers of 16 or 17 years of age who: (a) have not yet completed 3 months or 200 hours of employment since turning 16 years of age; (b) are not supervising or training other workers; and (c) are not trainees for the purposes of the Act.
Any rate so set shall not be less than 80% the rate set for adult workers.
Minimum Wage Act 1983 §4(1)(b), (3), (4)
Remarks: The Minimum Wage Order 2011 sets the following minimum rates of wages for new entrants: (a) if paid by the hour or by piecework - $10.40 per hour; (b) if paid by the day - $83.20 per day, and $10.40 per hour for each hour exceeding 8 hours worked on a day; (c) in all other cases - $416 per week, and $10.40 per hour for each hour exceeding 40 hours worked in a week.
Minimum wage level(s) in national currency
The Minimum Wage Order 2011 sets the following minimum rates of wages for adult workers: (a) if paid by the hour or by piecework - $13 per hour; (b) if paid by the day - $104 per day, and $13 per hour for each hour exceeding 8 hours in a day; (c) in all other cases - $520 per week, and $13 per hour for each hour exceeding 40 hours in a week.
Minimum Wage Order 2011 §4
Remarks: An adult worker is any worker aged 16 years or more to whom the Minimum Wages Act applies, excluding a trainee or new entrant worker (§3 Minimum Wage Order 2011).
Last minimum wage update
The Minimum Wage Order 2011 is dated 28 February 2011 and took effect from 1 April 2011.
Minimum Wage Order 2011 §2
If a worker is provided with board or lodging by an employer, the amount deducted from their wages may not exceed either: (i) the cash value of the board or lodging as determined in any agreement, Act or determination relating to the workers employment; or (ii) 15% of the workers wages for any board provided, or 5% for any lodging.
Otherwise, employers must pay wages in money and deductions for anything except board and lodging are prohibited, except where made with the written consent, or on the written request, of the worker or to recover overpayments in certain circumstances.
Remarks: The minimum wage has been adjusted annually for at least the past 4 years: see attached Minimum Wage Orders for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Labour Inspectors, as appointed under Part 11 of the Employment Relations Act, are charged with taking all reasonable steps to ensure that, and determining whether, the Minimum Wages Act has been complied with. For these purposes, Labour Inspectors are empowered to: (a) enter, at any reasonable hour, any premises where any person is employed or where the Labour Inspector has reasonable cause to believe that any person is employed; (b) interview any person at any such premises and the power to interview any employer or any employee; (c) require the production of, and inspect and take copies from: (i) any wages and time record or any holiday and leave record; (ii) any other document held which records the remuneration of any employees; (d) require any employer to supply to the Labour Inspector a copy of the wages and time record or holiday and leave record or employment agreement or both of any employee of that employer; (e) question any employer about compliance with of the Minimum Wage Act.
Employers must maintain wages and time records, setting out prescribed content in relation to each worker, for at least 6 years from the date of use.
Fines in national currency for non-respect of legislation
Any employer that fails to pay the wage rates stipulated or otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of the Minimum Wages Act 1983, shall be liable to a penalty determined by the Employment Relations Authority. Penalties may not exceed NZ$10,000 for an individual or NZ$20,000 for a company or other corporation.
A Labour Inspector may commence an action in the name and on behalf of an employee to recover any wages or other money payable by an employer to that employee under the Minimum Wage Act 1983.
Alternatively, the Inspector may: (a) enter an enforceable undertaking with the employer, under which the employer is bound to rectify non-compliance and ensure future compliance; (b) issue an improvement notice, setting out the steps the employer must take to comply with the Minimum Wage Act and any loss suffered by employees as a consequence of the employers non-compliance; or (c) issue a demand notice, requiring the employer to pay the amount found owing to the employee.
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