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Minimum wage increased

21 December 2004 Media Statement

Minimum wage increased

The minimum wage will increase from $9 to $9.50 per hour from 21 March 2005, Labour Minister Paul Swain announced today.

“The Labour-led government has increased the minimum wage every year since 1999.

"This boost to low wage earners has not been at the expense of jobs, as minimum wage increases have kept pace with strong economic growth over the same period,” Paul Swain said.

“It is important that minimum wage rates remain high enough to provide a realistic incentive to work, relative to a benefit. We believe this increase provides the right balance between benefits for low-income workers while minimising negative impacts for employers. "

The minimum hourly rate for workers aged 16 and 17 years will move from $7.20 to $7.60 an hour, to keep it at 80% of the adult minimum wage. The minimum training wage, which is set at the level of the minimum youth wage, will move to the same rate.

These changes will benefit about 35,000 adult workers and 6,500 youth workers.

"The increase in the minimum wage will also complement other government objectives, such as the working for families assistance package, designed to ensure that families with dependent children are always better off when in work.

"With three months till the changes come into effect, businesses will have time to prepare. Employers, unions and employees can contact the Department of Labour on 0800 800 863 for more information or go to www.ers.dol.govt.nz."

ENDS

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