Minimum wage to rise to $21.20 from April

The minimum wage will go up to $21.20 from April.

Money.

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood said "Kiwis who earn the minimum wage have gone above and beyond in our fight against Covid-19".

Labour's 2020 election promise was to continue to lift the minimum wage, after increasing it to $20 an hour in April 2021.

"With the arrival of Omicron, we are once again calling on many of our frontline workers, such as cleaners, supermarket workers, and security guards, to keep the country running as the virus spreads and cases begin to increase. I think everyone agrees those contributing so much to our Covid response deserve a pay rise.

"Raising the minimum wage will directly benefit approximately 300,000 workers, and will help many households that have been most impacted by the effects of Covid. For someone working a 40-hour week on the minimum wage, this increase will see them earning an extra $48 a week, and almost $2500 more each year," Wood said.

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He said the increase would have an impact on the economy "as many workers will spend the extra money on goods and services, which in turn, will help support businesses".

The starting-out and training minimum wage would also go up from $16 to $16.96 from April.

National's Simon Bridges said the increase was a "cold comfort to millions of other Kiwis who are also being hurt by cost of living pressure".

"The only reason the Government has had to increase the minimum wage this much is to keep pace with the cost of living crisis they have created."

Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Richard Wagstaff welcomed the rise, but was disappointed the Government did not increase it up to the living wage.

"We feel that this would have genuinely changed how we view minimum wage workers, and how we value the impact they make. The CTU is calling for a conversation as a country as to how we lift the minimum wage in the future, and how we go about making that decision."

The living wage is currently set at $22.75.