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Minimum wage to increase

21 December 2005

Minimum wage to increase

Workers earning the minimum wage will receive a pay rise of nearly eight per cent from March 2006, Labour Minister Ruth Dyson announced today.

The minimum adult wage, which applies to people over 18 years, will increase from $9.50 to $10.25 an hour from 27 March 2006, the largest increase since the Labour-led government came into office in 1999.

The minimum youth wage - for workers aged 16 and 17 years – will also increase by nearly eight per cent, from $7.60 to $8.20 per hour, to stay at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage. The minimum training wage will increase to the same rate.

“The boost in the minimum wage will ensure that lower paid workers share the benefits of economic growth, encourage people to join the workforce and provide protection for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable workers,” Ruth Dyson said.

“The latest increase will benefit around 91,000 adult workers, most of whom are women, and around 10,000 youth workers. It can be made with confidence in the current economic and labour market conditions, without being at the expense of jobs.

“With three months till the changes come into effect, businesses will have time to prepare for the changes.”

The Minister of Labour reviews minimum wage rates annually for adults, youth and trainees, seeking submissions from a wide range of organisations, including employer, union, Pacific, Maori and women’s groups.

Ruth Dyson said the government’s goal is for the adult minimum wage to reach $12 an hour by the end of 2008, if economic conditions permit.

For more information, employers and employees can contact the Department of Labour at www.ers.dol.govt.nz or free phone 0800 20 90 20.

ENDS

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