The minimum wage
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 all employees who are involved in supervising or training other employees.
- The starting-out wage applies to starting-out workers. Starting-out workers 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.
- 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.
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.
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).
The minimum wage rates are reviewed every year. The current adult minimum wage rates (before tax) that apply for employees aged 16 or over are:
- $13.75 an hour, which is
- $110.00 for an 8-hour day or
- $550.00 for a 40-hour week.
The minimum rates that apply to starting-out workers, and employees on the training minimum wage (before tax), are:
- $11.00 an hour, which is
- $88.00 for an 8-hour day or
- $440.00 for a 40-hour week.
Employees have to be paid at least the minimum hourly wage rate for any extra time worked over eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.
From 1 May 2013 the starting-out wage replaced the new entrants’ minimum wage and training minimum wage for under-20s.
- The new entrants’ wage will no longer be an option for new employees. However, those employers who were paying an employee the new entrants’ rate (or any rate greater than the new entrants’ rate but less than the adult minimum wage rate) on 30 April 2013 may continue to do so until that employee has completed 200 hours or 3 months of employment (whichever is completed first). After that point the employee must be paid the adult minimum wage rate.
- 16- to 19-year-old trainees who were entitled to be paid the training minimum wage before 1 May 2013 will now be entitled to be paid the starting-out wage, however these rates are the same and so in practice these employees will continue to be entitled to the same minimum wage rate.
Anyone who thinks they are being paid less than the minimum wage should call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 20 90 20.