Advice

Minimum Wage NZ 2021

What is the minimum wage in NZ 2021?

The minimum wage rate in New Zealand is increasing to $20.00 per hour from 1 April 2021. This is a rise from $18.90 per hour. If you have adult employees earning less than minimum wage, you are legally required to increase their wage rate from 1 April. See here to learn more about minimum wage in NZ 2021.

When there is a wage rate change, you need to advise the employee of this, and record the change in writing. For this, we recommend the Variation Letter for your employee to sign. After signing, you should keep one copy for your records, and give the other to your employee. It’s important to keep a record because you’ll need to show it to Labour Inspectors if you’re ever audited.

The minimum rates apply to all employees. It doesn’t matter if they work full-time, part-time or casually. It also applies if they are paid an hourly rate, a salary, a commission basis, or some sort of piece rate.

There is no legal minimum rate for employees aged 15 years or younger, but you need to pay the adult minimum wage to all employees aged 16 and over unless they are eligible for the ‘starting-out’ wage or the ‘training’ wage.

If you have salaried employees, you need to make sure that their total remuneration meets minimum wage requirements for each individual pay period. You need to account for any overtime, meetings, or time spent opening and closing stores. If these activities bring total remuneration below the minimum wage rate, you’re breaking the law.


What are New Zealand’s minimum hourly rates, and what are the changes?


Minimum Wage for:Employee descriptionMinimum rate per hour from 1 April 2020Minimum rate per hour from 1 April 2021
ChildrenAged 15 years or under.No minimum appliesNo minimum applies
Starting-out Wage16 and 17-year-olds, first six months with a new employer, not training or supervising others.

16 to 19-year-olds on an Employment Agreement specifying the requirement of an industry training programme involving at least 40 credits a year, not training or supervising others.

18 and 19-year-olds, previously on a benefit for six months or more, not yet completed six months’ continuous employment with any employer, not training or supervising others.
$15.12$16.00
Training WageAged 20 and older on an industry training programme involving at least 60 credits a year.$15.12$16.00
All other employeesAll other employees, including 16 and 17-year-olds after six months of employment with the same employer.$18.90$20.00

What if I can’t afford to increase pay rates for my employees?

See our advice for ways to try and manage rising wage cost.


If you have any specific issues around minimum wage rising or paying your staff, our Advice Service is here to help and can be contacted by email or phone 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia).

Not a member of the Retail NZ family yet? No worries! Click here to get on board.



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