Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage increased on 1 April 2020

The Government has announced that the adult minimum wage will rise on 1 April 2020 to $18.90 per hour - from the current rate of $17.70 per hour. This means that if you have adult employees earning less than $18.90 an hour, you are legally required to increase their wage rates.

You will need to advise the employee of this and record the change in writing. This means that you should draft a Variation Letter for the employee to sign. One copy should be retained for the employer record and one copy retained by the employee. It is important to keep a record of the change in case you are ever audited by the Labour Inspectors.

The minimum rates apply to all employees whether they work full-time, part-time or casually and whether they are paid a wage for time worked, a salary, partly or wholly on a commission basis, or for what they produce (piece rates).

The minimum adult rate applies to any employee aged 16 years and over unless they are eligible for the 'starting-out' wage or the 'training' wage.

There is no legal minimum rate for employees aged 15 years or younger.

If you have salaried employees, you need to make sure that their total remuneration meets minimum wage requirements for each individual pay period, taking into account any overtime, meetings, or time spent opening and closing stores. If these bring total remuneration below the Minimum Wage rate, you are breaking the law.

The table below summarises the minimum hourly rates and the changes:

Minimum Wage for: Employee description Old minimum rate per hour New minimum rate per hour from 1 April 2020
  • Aged 15 years or under.
No minimum applies No minimum applies
  • 16 and 17-year-olds, first six months with a new employer, not training or supervising others.
  • 16 to 19-year-olds on an Employment Agreement specifying the requirement of an industry training programme involving at least 40 credits a year, not training or supervising others.
  • 18 and 19-year-olds, previously on a benefit for six months or more, not yet completed six months' continuous employment with any employer, not training or supervising others.
$14.16 $15.12
  • Aged 20 and older on an industry training programme involving at least 60 credits a year.
$14.16 $15.12
All other employees
  • All other employees, including 16 and 17-year-olds after six months of employment with the same employer.
$17.70 $18.90

Are you wondering what this could mean for your business?

The new minimum wage, will likely put pressure on other wages in your business. There is a number of ways to combat the added cost that wage increases will have on your business. Additionally, there are ways to incentivise employees other than simple pay increases.

Retail NZ 2020 Wages Guide is out now!

The 2020 Wages Survey has now closed and the results have been published. Thank you to everyone who participated in this years Wages Survey

Every retailer who completed the 2020 survey has been sent a FREE copy of the guide. If you think your business took the survey and you have not received the guide please email

If you didn't take part in the survey, the guide is available for purchase ($125 plus GST) for members and ($250 plus GST) for non-members.

If you'd like to purchase a copy, flick us an email at

If you have any specific issues about minimum wage or paying your staff, our Advice Service is here to help and can be contacted by email or phone 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia).

Not a member of the Retail NZ family yet? No worries! Click here to get on board.

Updated 16th June 2020.