Minimum wage 


How much is the minimum wage?

There are three minimum wage rates:

1. The adult minimum wage ($16.50 per hour as of 1 April 2018) applies to employees who are over 16 years old, neither a starting-out worker nor a trainee. Employees who are aged 16 years or over and are supervising or training other workers, are also entitled to the adult minimum wage. There are some exemptions (see the next question).

2. The starting-out wage is set at 80% of the adult minimum wage, and applies to:

  • Employees aged 16 or 17 years, who have not yet completed six months of continuous employment with their current employer
  • Employees aged 18 or 19 years, who have been on a benefit for six months or more
  • Employees aged 16 to 19 years who are in a recognised industry training course for at least 40 credits per year as part of their employment agreement.

3. The training wage for employees aged 20 years or over who are in recognised industry training involving at least 60 credits per year as part of their employment agreement. It is also set at 80% of the adult minimum wage.

For more information about the different types of minimum wage see the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Employment website

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I’m getting paid less than the minimum wage. What do I do?

A small number of employers are exempted from having to pay the minimum wage. If this exemption does not apply to you or your employer, then they are obliged to pay you to at least the level of the minimum wage. 

Ask your employer why they are paying you less than the minimum wage. It may be easier to do so in writing - you can use the letter template on the Community Law website, but check that the correct minimum wage is given in the letter.

If your employer cannot give you an acceptable explanation and will not increase your pay to the legal minimum, you can call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on  0800 20 90 20 for further advice.

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Does the minimum wage apply to people who are paid a piece rate or on commission only?

Piece rate is when you are paid according to the amount of work you do - e.g. per kilo of fruit picked or per garment sewn - rather than by the hour.

Commission is when your pay is based on how much you sell or how well you meet some kind of target.

If you are paid according to either of the above methods, your employer is still required by law to pay you at least the minimum wage.