Living Wage

Living Wage in New Zealand

What is the living wage?

The living wage is the amount of hourly pay a worker would need to earn in order to pay for the necessities of life and participate as an active citizen in the community.

NZ Living Wage from 09/2024: $27.80

$26.00 is the Living Wage rate up until 31/08/2024

In New Zealand the Living Wage is calculated each year by the New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Unit, and is intended to represent the wage that's required for workers to cover their basic living expenses including food, accommodation and transportation.

Living Wage Calculations

NZ Historical Living Wage Rates

Historical Living Wage Rates
As ofLiving Wage
1 September 2024$27.80
1 September 2023$26.00
1 September 2022$23.65
1 September 2022$22.75
1 September 2020$22.10
1 September 2019$21.15
1 July 2018$20.55
1 July 2017$20.20
1 July 2016$19.80
1 July 2015$19.25
1 February 2014$18.80
1 March 2013$18.40

Key points from the Living Wage Manifesto:

  • 🌍 Living Wage Movement: Aims to reduce inequality and poverty by ensuring workers earn enough to meet basic needs and participate in society.
  • 💰 Need for Living Wage: New Zealand has seen growing income inequality and poverty, with a significant portion of children living in poverty.
  • 📈 Benefits of Living Wage: Research shows that a living wage can improve staff retention, reduce absenteeism, and enhance productivity.
  • 🔑 Implementation: The campaign calls for businesses and publicly-funded bodies to commit to paying a living wage, and for it to be incorporated into procurement policies.
  • 📜 Historical Context: The concept of a living wage has been supported by various groups over the years, including churches, unions, and business owners.
  • 💸 Living Wage Rate: The rate is independently researched and considers various factors including taxes, benefits, and cost of living.
  • 🔍 Public Money Focus: Campaigns focus on the ethical use of public money to ensure fair wages and employment practices.
  • 👥 Who Benefits: A living wage benefits workers, businesses, and the community, by improving living standards and boosting the economy.
  • 🤝 Collaboration: Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand is a community and union alliance working to reduce poverty and inequality.

Living Wage FAQ

How is the living wage calculated in New Zealand?

The living wage in New Zealand is calculated based on the basic expenses required for a worker and their family to live a decent life, including housing, food, transportation, and healthcare costs. It is reviewed annually by independent research organizations.

How does the living wage impact small businesses?

While paying the living wage can increase costs for small businesses, it can also lead to benefits such as improved staff retention, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity, which can offset the higher wage costs.

Are there any exemptions to the living wage?

The living wage is a voluntary commitment by employers, so there are no legal exemptions. However, some businesses may choose to implement the living wage only for certain employees or gradually phase it in.

What is the difference between the living wage and the minimum wage in terms of legal enforcement?

The minimum wage is a legally enforceable rate set by the government, while the living wage is a voluntary rate recommended by advocacy groups based on the cost of living. Employers are legally required to pay at least the minimum wage but are encouraged to pay the living wage.

Living Wage Articles

NZ's Living Wage Rate Set to Increase to $27.80 for 2024/25

Reflecting high inflation and wage growth over the previous year, the Living Wage will increase 6.9% on September 1, diverging from the smaller increase to the minimum wage that came into effect this month.

How equal has wage growth been over the last 10 years?

How does growth in the minimum wage and living wage stack up against growth in the median wage and average wage in New Zealand over the last 10 years?

Why the living wage should be regional

The Living Wage has an admirable purpose but there are some deficiencies in the way that the living wage currently works in NZ. Here we demonstrate why there should be consideration for regional differences in the cost of living.