Minimum wage rates and types

Minimum wage rates are set by the government and reviewed every year.

Minimum wage rates and types

Minimum wage rates apply to all employees working in New Zealand aged 16 and over. The current minimum wage rates (before tax) are set by the government and are reviewed each year. The wage rates shown below are effective from 1 April 2024.

Type of minimum wage Per hour 8-hour-day 40-hour week 80-hour fortnight
Adult $23.15 $185.20 $926 $1852
Starting-out $18.52 $148.16 $740.80 $1481.60
Training $18.52 $148.16 $740.80 $1481.60

Anyone who thinks they are being paid less than the minimum wage should report this to us by calling 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

Temporary migrant workers have the same minimum employment rights as New Zealand workers. This includes being paid at least the minimum wage. You can report it to us if you or someone you know is being exploited in the workplace.

Hiring temporary migrant workers

Employee rights and responsibilities

Minimum wage – what employees are entitled to

If an employee is aged 16 or over, the employee must be paid at least the minimum wage. There are 3 types of minimum wage: adult, starting-out and training. Read about these types of minimum wage, how the employee can work out if they are being paid the minimum wage and how superannuation contribution (like KiwiSaver) relates to it.

An employee must be paid at least the minimum wage for every hour worked unless the minimum wage does not apply to them. If the employee has agreed to a higher pay rate in their employment agreement, they must be paid at least that rate. Payments for callouts should also be negotiated in the employment agreement.

They must be paid:

  • at least the adult minimum wage if they are aged 16 years or older and not starting-out or a trainee
  • at least the starting out wage if they are under 20 in specific situations
  • at least the training wage if they are 20 years or over and completing 60 credits of industry training.

Hiring young people

Types of pay

Employee learning module: Pay and wages (external link)

The minimum wage applies to every employee, unless:

  • they are under 16 – there is no minimum wage for employees under 16• they are a member (referred to as an inmate in the Minimum Wage Act legislation) of a charitable institution, doing any work as a member
  • they are a prisoner in custody – the pay rate for prisoners is decided by the Minister of Corrections
  • they have a disability that limits them from carrying out the work and their employer has a minimum wage exemption permit for that employee.

Employer minimum wage exemption for disabled people 

The minimum wage also does not apply to home and community support employees for the time that they travel between clients. This is covered by the Home and Community Support (Payment for Travel Between Clients) Settlement Act.

Employee guidance on travel times and payment – Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand(external link)

If an employee supervises or trains other workers, then the starting-out or training minimum wage does not apply, and the employee must be paid at least the adult minimum wage. For this to apply, supervising or training must be part of the employee’s job, not just a one-off event. It would usually include overseeing or instructing someone doing their job. The employee does not have to be a line or direct manager of other employees.

Types of minimum wage

Adult minimum wage

The adult minimum wage applies if the employee is:

  • 16 years old or over, and
  • not a starting-out worker or trainee (unless they are involved in supervising or training other workers).

Starting-out minimum wage

The starting-out minimum wage applies if the employee is:

  • 16 or 17 years old and have not worked for their current employer for 6 continuous months. After 6 months with one employer, the employee must be paid the adult minimum wage.
  • 16 to 19 years old and their employment agreement states that they have to undertake industry training for at least 40 credits a year to become qualified in the area they are working in.
  • 18 or 19 years old and:
    • they have been paid one or more specified social security benefits for 6 months or more continuously and
    • they have not worked for one employer for 6 continuous months since they started being paid a benefit.

Specified social security benefits include:

  • the emergency benefits
  • the job seeker benefit
  • sole parent support
  • supported living payment
  • young parent payment
  • youth payment.

Arrears for wages (wages that you were entitled to) can go back 6 years so other benefits that no longer exist may apply in some situations.

Six months of continuous employment is calculated as the next 6 calendar months from the employee’s first day of work. It does not matter how many hours or days of the week they work.6 months includes any time they were:

  • employed by their employer before they turned 16 years
  • on leave (paid or not).If they move to a new employer, they will be a starting-out worker again for the first 6 months.

This applies to each new employer until they reach the maximum age.

The starting-out wage does not apply if the employee’s role includes supervising or training other workers. If they are, then they must be paid at least the adult minimum wage.

Training minimum wage

The training minimum wage applies if:

  • the employee is 20 years old or over, and
  • their employment agreement states that they have to do at least 60 credits a year of an industry training programme to become qualified in the area they are working in.

The training minimum wage usually applies to apprentices. An apprentice has the same minimum rights and protections under employment law as any other employee but can be paid the training wage.

Apprentices and trainees

The training wage does not apply:

  • If they are being trained at work. For example, if they are being trained by their employer at the start of their employment. For the training wage to apply, the employee must be doing an approved industry training programme.
  • If they are supervising or training other workers – then they must be paid at least the adult minimum wage.

Check if you’re being paid minimum wage

If you earn a salary

Salary is normally a fixed amount per year. The salaried hours to be worked should be in your . If you’re a full-time employee, divide your total pay (including tax) by the number of hours you’ve worked in a pay period to make sure you’ve earned the minimum wage. This should give you a rough idea of whether your pay rate is what it should be. If you are not sure, talk to your employer or contact us.

Contact us(external link)

If you are paid by the hour

Check the hourly rate on your payslip is at least the minimum wage. Any extra hours you are asked to work must also be at least the minimum wage.

Working overtime or extra shifts

If you are paid piece rates

A piece rate is a commission where you are paid for the number of pieces you worked on. For example, being paid for the number of bins of fruit picked, or the number of garments sewn. If you are paid per piece, you must still receive at least the relevant minimum wage for each hour worked. To check this, divide your total pay in a pay period by the number of hours you worked in that pay period.

If accommodation is part of your pay package

Agricultural workers are sometimes offered board (accommodation and meals), lodging (just accommodation) or other benefits as part of their pay package. If you have agreed to have the cost of the accommodation or other benefits taken out of your wages, the amount being taken out is included when you calculate if you are being paid the minimum wage.

Deductions(external link)

Many employees in the agricultural industry are offered accommodation, goods, and other services as part of their employment. Here’s a guide on how the costs and deductions for providing accommodation, goods and other services should be dealt with to make sure the requirements of the Minimum Wage Act 1983 are met. Labour Inspectorate Position Statement – the Minimum Wage and Employment Agreements in the Agricultural Industry

What employees must be paid

  • An employer must pay employees at least the relevant minimum wage set annually under the Minimum Wage Act 1983. The minimum wage must be paid for each hour worked and cannot be averaged over a season or period.
  • Employees must be paid their wages in money and cannot be paid through other non-cash benefits except deductions agreed with their employer for accommodation, goods and other services.
  • The employer must keep accurate records of hours worked, wages payable and paid, and leave taken.

Hours of work

Employer-provided accommodation for employees

  • Under the Minimum Wage Act 1983, ‘board’ is considered to mean providing both accommodation and meals, while ‘lodging’ means providing accommodation only.
  • Employers and employees may agree on the deductions from the employee’s wage for the cost of the accommodation provided by the employer.
  • The agreed cost of accommodation deducted before payment of wages will be included as “wages” for Minimum Wage Act 1983 calculation purposes.
  • Any agreement relating to accommodation should clearly detail the accommodation arrangement and its cost to the employee, which should be reasonable. The wage records should include the wages payable before any deduction is made for the agreed cost of accommodation.
  • If there is no specific agreement about the accommodation cost, an employer can deduct 15% of the employee’s wages calculated at the relevant minimum wage rate for board or 5% for lodging.
  • The rental or accommodation agreement should be either separate from the employment agreement or able to be separated.

Record keeping

Providing other goods or services related to an employee’s role

  • Employers and employees can also agree that other goods or services related to the employment may be provided. For example, these might include the use of farming property, the provision of firewood or an animal.
  • If provided as non-cash benefits, they cannot be considered as part of the employee’s wages when determining whether the minimum wage is being paid.
  • However, when expressly authorised by the employee, the employer may deduct the agreed cost of those goods and services, (for example firewood) from wages payable and the deducted amount will be included as “wages” for Minimum Wage Act 1983 calculation purposes.
  • The wage records should include the wages payable before any deduction is made for the agreed value of the goods or services.
  • Any such agreements and deduction authorisations should be recorded outside of the employment agreement.

Employers and employees should get their own advice as to the tax implications of arrangements for deducting accommodation costs or other agreed costs from wages.

They should also consider the need to comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 for any accommodation provided.

Residential Tenancies Act 1986(external link)

The work visa of foreign fishing crews allows them to work in New Zealand waters. These foreign fishing crew and their employers have rights and responsibilities when they operate in New Zealand waters.

If you have any other questions or want to make a complaint you can:

If you have any questions about your immigration status, contact the New Zealand company whose ship you are working on, or contact Fishing crew rights and obligations - Immigration New Zealand(external link)

How superannuation affects the minimum wage

Employers must pay any employer superannuation contribution, such as KiwiSaver, on top of at least the minimum wage.

Therefore, unless you have opted out of KiwiSaver and you’re not part of any other superannuation scheme, your employer must pay you at least minimum wage plus their compulsory minimum employer superannuation contribution. The employer’s compulsory superannuation contribution cannot be included as part of the minimum wage rate.


KiwiSaver - Inland Revenue(external link)

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