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Fair day’s pay for trainees

Fair day’s pay for trainees

The Minimum Wage Amendment Bill passed by Parliament today ensures trainees receive a fair day’s pay as they will soon have to be paid at least $6.80 an hour, the same as the minimum youth rate, Acting Labour Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

“Trainees are the backbone of tomorrow’s workforce. This legislation is another way of encouraging people to pursue new skills, because New Zealand needs a skilled workforce to prosper. It also prevents employers who offer fair wages from being undercut by competitors who employ cheap labour,” Trevor Mallard said.

“Many trainees are already paid decent wages, but this bill protects the minority who are not. Until now, some trainees have been paid very little, with industry surveys showing hairdressing, panel beating and some horticulture trainees to be particularly vulnerable. Those three industries collectively employ about 10,000 trainees, though not all of them will be underpaid.” “The new trainee wage will complement the Government’s aim to get 150,000 people into industry training during 2005, and the wider goal of ensuring all 15 to 19-year-olds are involved in education, training or work by 2007,” Trevor Mallard said.

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. The regulations implementing the minimum training wage will affect only those agreements where the rate of pay is less than $6.80 an hour.

Regulations implementing the minimum training wage are expected to come into force next week. Interested employers and employees will be able to find out more information by visiting http://www.ers.dol.govt.nz or calling the ERS Infoline on 0800 800 863.

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