by Denise Roche
The Government has announced that from April 1 2014 the minimum wage will be increased by 50 cents to $14.25 per hour.
This will give the over 100,000 or so people earning the current minimum wage of $13.75 per hour an extra $20 before tax for a 40 hour week. It’s still not enough to live on.
Around 125,000 children live in families where the adults earn less than the wage calculated as being enough to live on – the living wage.
The NZCTU says that wage rates have not kept up with productivity gains and a fairer system is needed to deliver better wages for New Zealand workers.
The response of the Labour Government under Helen Clark, Working for Families, while lifting many families out of poverty also allows many employers to keep their wages low.
Our policy is to increase the minimum wage eventually to 66% of the average wage – which would be close to the Living Wage of $18.80 per hour that is being advocated by the Living Wage Coalition.
This view is also shared by the by the NZCTU who outlined many cogent arguments for lifting the minimum wage in their submission on the minimum wage review.
Our solutions would mean that all workers, people such as the parliamentary cleaners who earn around $14.40 per hour, would be able to better meet their needs, and enjoy their lives.