New Zealand’s $15 minimum wage has made it the first country in the world to raise the minimum wage
Posted On August 2, 2021
NEW ZEALAND (AP) New Zealand has become the first place in the developed world to hike the minimum hourly wage from $15 to $19, as part of a major shift in attitudes toward the nation’s $10.10 minimum wage.
Under the $15-an-hour policy, restaurants and retail workers across the country will be required to pay workers $15 an hour in 2017, a move that will see about 6,000 workers in the country earn $15 hourly wages.
New Zealand also announced Wednesday it will double the amount of overtime paid to workers at the nations largest supermarket chain, after the retailer’s CEO made a $30 million payment to a New Zealand charity.
The announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was greeted with excitement in the business community.
The New Zealand Restaurant Association said the $16 minimum wage was the “most significant wage increase in the history of New Zealand.”
The association said the minimum pay would allow for restaurants to “start investing in the future of the restaurant industry,” while also encouraging “small and medium businesses to grow and thrive.”
The New Zealand Institute of Food and Drink said the rise would help businesses “be more innovative, to invest more in their supply chains and to develop new products and services that will help meet customers’ expectations.”
The minimum wage is the highest in the Americas, and is more than double the $11.80 in Mexico.
The average wage in the United States is $7.75.
The minimum pay increase will go into effect in 2019.
The increase will also affect a group of small business owners that have had trouble keeping up with the cost of living.
The minimum wage will be $13 an hour by 2021.
“I think we are very fortunate that we are the only developed country that has an absolute minimum wage,” Arderr said in a statement.
“In New Zealand, the minimum is $15.
It will help us attract, retain and retain the best talent.”
She said she would also make a $1 million payment in 2019 to help support the Small Business Alliance, which advocates for small businesses.
Arderr’s announcement came after the New Zealand Food Institute said the average cost of a meal at restaurants in New Zealand was $8.30.
New Zealand ranks 27th out of 36 developed nations for food costs, behind France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
The $15 wage will also have a direct impact on the jobs of many workers.
Many small businesspeople are struggling to pay their employees enough to cover living costs and maintain the basic necessities.
The country’s unemployment rate is 4.4%, but the New York Times said that rate could be higher because the minimum salary will raise the unemployment rate from 4.7% to 5.1%.
The Times cited the Newshub Labor Market Analysis.