Keeping up with employment law changes

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1. Minimum Wage Increase

The adult minimum wage increased from $13.50 to $13.75 an hour from April 1. This applies to all employees aged 16 years or more who are not trainees or new entrants.

Simultaneously, the new entrants’ and trainees’ minimum wages increased to $11.00 an hour. New entrants are 16- to 17-year-old employees who have not completed 200 hours or three months of employment (whichever is shorter). Trainees are workers aged 16 years or over who are enrolled in recognised industry training of at least 60 credits per year.

2. Changes to KiwiSaver

The current 2% minimum contribution rate for employers and employees increases to 3% of gross salary or wages from the first pay period beginning on or after 1 April this year. This also means that the default rate is now 3%.

Only those employees currently on the minimum contribution rate will need to change rates, those on the 4% or 8% rate can stay where they are.

Related story: Tax changes for Kiwis in the New Year

3. ‘Starting Out’ wage

The ‘starting out’ wage is set to replace the new entrants’ and trainees’ wages as of May 1. It will apply to:

  • 16 and 17-year-olds in their first six months of work with a new employer
  • 18 and 19-year-olds in their first six months of work with a new employer after six months or more on a benefit
  • 16- to 19-year-old workers enrolled in a recognised industry training programme of at least 40 credits a year.

Related story: ‘Starting Out Wage’ a couple of months away

4. Mondayisation of Waitangi and Anzac Days

The Bill that would make the Monday following Waitangi Day and Anzac Day a public holiday whenever either should fall on the weekend is one step closer to becoming law after passing its second reading in parliament.

The next step for the Bill is the select committee, after which it will proceed to its third reading. If the Bill becomes law, the next time that Anzac Day falls on a weekend won’t be until 2015, and the following year for Waitangi Day. It isn’t until five years after that, in 2021, that both public holidays will fall on the weekend.

Related story: Mondayisation of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day proceeds

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