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Minimum wage protection for trainees

13 May 2003 Media Statement

Minimum wage protection for trainees

Trainees who are currently exempt from the Minimum Wage Act will soon be eligible to receive a minimum wage under legislation expected to be passed by Parliament within the next two weeks, Labour Minister Margaret Wilson said today.

The Minimum Wage Amendment Bill removes the existing exemption from the minimum wage for trainees, and instead allows a minimum training wage to be set by regulation (in the same way as adult and youth minimum wages).

“Currently, there is no minimum rate of pay for some trainees. This legislation will ensure these vulnerable employees receive a socially acceptable minimum wage, while also maintaining incentives for employers to invest in training”, Ms Wilson said.

The Government has agreed that the minimum training wage will be set at the same rate as the current youth rate of $6.80 an hour.

To be eligible for the minimum wage, trainees must be:
- aged 16 or over;
- required by their employment agreement to undertake 60 credits a year in a relevant industry training programme registered on the National Qualifications Framework.

Currently, trainees undertaking 60 credits a year or more of an industry training programme and their employers can agree to any rate of wages. Regulations implementing the minimum training wage will affect only those agreements where the rate of pay is less than $6.80 an hour. Payments less than that will need to be increased to at least the minimum training rate from the time the regulations come into force. If trainees and their employers have already agreed to a higher rate of pay, the regulations will not affect those agreements.

Regulations implementing the minimum training wage are expected to come into force within the next two weeks, and the Department of Labour will publicise these after the Bill is passed. Interested employers and employees will be able to find out this information from visiting www.ers.dol.govt.nz or calling the ERS Infoline on 0800 800 86.

ENDS.

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