Minimum wage exemptions for people with disabilities: Information for employees and their support people
Every employer has to pay at least the minimum wage unless an employee has a minimum wage exemption permit.
Your employer can apply to a Labour Inspector for an exemption permit if you both agree there is a good reason why you should be paid less than the minimum wage.
Labour Inspectors will issue a minimum wage exemption only if they think it is reasonable and appropriate to do so. They can refuse to issue one if they think you should be paid the minimum wage, or if the wage offered is unfair. (View the current minimum wage rates).
Before a Labour Inspector will issue a minimum wage exemption permit, they will make sure that:
- your disability really stops you from earning the minimum wage
- you have been given the opportunity to have an independent support person or advocate with you when you are talking about your wages with your employer
- the work is suitable for you and you get appropriate supervision and training
- you are offered a written employment agreement that meets all employment rights, such as paid holidays and sick leave, and adequate health and safety conditions (except minimum wage)
- the wage rate relates to your ability to do the work
- the wage is consistent with the wages paid to other people whose circumstances are similar to yours, and who have exemptions
- your employer has done everything they can reasonably be expected to do to help you do the job well.
Labour Inspectors will not issue a minimum wage exemption permit unless they are sure that the wage rate is fair and that you agree with it.
What happens if employees are union members?
If the employee is a union member with a minimum wage exemption permit, the union has to agree to the employee being paid at the rate stated in their permit, rather than at the pay rate in the collective agreement.
Where can I get more information?
Contact the Department of Labour through our website or call 0800 20 90 20 during business hours.If an employee has any concerns about how the wage rate may affect their benefit or tax exemption they can contact Work and Income by calling 0800 559 009 or by emailing email@example.com.