Wellington: The New Zealand government will raise the minimum wage for the lowest paid workers by increasing it to NZ$21.2 ($14) per hour from April 1, a move expected to benefit approximately 300,000 workers, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said on Friday.
The government remains committed to supporting New Zealanders by raising their wages, as the country continues to recover and rebuild from the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.
New Zealand’s current minimum wage is NZ$20.
The 6 per cent growth is just above the annual inflation recorded in the last quarter.
The minimum wage has increased steadily from NZ$14.75 in April 2017.
Wood said in a statement that with the arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, frontline workers, such as cleaners, supermarket workers, and security guards, have contributed greatly to the response and deserve a pay rise.
Raising the minimum wage will help many households that have been most impacted by the effects of Covid-19, he said, adding that for people working a 40-hour week on the minimum wage, this increase will see them earning an extra NZ$48 a week, and almost NZ$2,500 more each year.
Despite some Covid-related disruptions to the labour market in New Zealand, the latest statistics show employment is increasing across most sectors thanks to the wage relief and resurgence packages to support people and businesses, the Minister said.
The wage increase will also have a stimulatory effect on the economy as many workers will spend the extra money on goods and services, which in turn, will help support businesses, Wood said.