Guide to Working in New Zealand

Minimum Pay

Employees aged 16 years and over must be paid at least the adult minimum wage rate, unless they are starting-out workers or trainees.  Minimum wage rates apply to all employees whether full-time, part-time fixed-term, casual employees, working from home and people paid totally or partly by commission or piece rates. Employees must give written consent before deductions can be made from their wages.

All employees who are involved in training or supervising other employees must be paid at least the adult minimum wage rate. Starting-out workers must be paid
at least the minimum starting-out wage rate, and trainees over 20 years of age must be paid at least the training minimum wage rate. Employers and employees may agree to any wage rate as long as it is not less than the applicable minimum wage rate.

Starting-out workers are:

  • 16- and 17-year-old employees who have not yet completed six months of continuous employment with their current employer.
  • 18- and 19-year-old employees who have been paid a specified social security benefit for six months or more, and who have not yet completed six months continuous employment with any employer since they started being paid a benefit. Once they have completed six months continuous employment with a single employer, they will no longer be a starting-out worker and must be paid at least the adult minimum wage.
  • 16- to 19-year-old employees who are required by their employment agreement to undertake industry training for at least 40 credits a year in order to become qualified for the occupation to which their employment agreement relates.

Trainees are employees aged 20 years and over who are required by their employment agreement to undertake at least 60 credits a year in an industry training programme in order to become qualified for the occupation to which their employment agreement relates.

Minimum wage rates apply to all employees whether full-time, part-time fixed-term, casual employees, working from home and people paid totally or partly by commission or piece rates. There is no minimum wage for employees aged under 16 but all other employment rights and entitlements still apply. When looking at whether an employee who is 16 years or older is a starting-out worker, any time spent employed by an employer before the employee turned 16 must be included when calculating the time that employee has been continuously employed. Minimum pay rates are reviewed each year and the current amounts are available on the Ministry’s website.

The current minimum wage rates (before tax) are as at 1 April 2024 and apply to employees aged 16 years or over:

Type of minimum wage Per hour 8 hour day 40 hour week 80 hour fortnight
Adult $23.15 $185.20 $926.00 $1,852.00
Starting-out $18.52 $148.16 $740.80 $1,481.60
Training $18.52 $148.16 $740.80 $1,481.60