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Minimum Wage Act 1983
This guide explains an employer's obligations under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 and other related legislation.
The Minimum Wage Act 1983 (the Act) provides for minimum wages in New Zealand and provides for their
annual review. The application of the Act was changed in 2003. It applies to all workers who fall within the
meaning of “employee” as defined by the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Employment Relations
Act); trainees who are employed under contracts of services (employment agreements) must receive the
minimum wage as provided by this Act from 17 June 2003.
The Act provides for minimum wage rates and a maximum working week (to which the minimum wage
rate applies); only the latter may be varied expressly by agreement.
The minimum wage rate is changed year to year by the Governor General by Order in Council.
The Act provides that the maximum number of hours worked in any one week (exclusive of overtime) be
set at not more than 40 except where the parties to an employment agreement agree to a greater number
of ordinary hours. Accordingly, it is possible to negotiate the ordinary hours to be more or less than 40.
An employee who satisfies a Labour Inspector that he or she is incapable of earning wages at the rate
prescribed by the Act may be permitted to accept wages at lower rates, as specified in an under-rate
workers’ (employee’s) permit.
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