The current minimum wage in New Zealand – Backpacking Tips

The Minimum Wage 2020 in New Zealand – Backpacker Tips

The minimum wage from 2020 to 2021

From 1.4.2020 the current minimum wage will come into force; it will be NZD 18.90 per hour. This minimum wage is valid until 31.3.2021 and applies to EVERY work activity, it may not be lowered.

Even though a lot of things are going up and down because of Corona, we have no information that the increase of the minimum wage will be suspended or postponed. Should this be the case, we will add this here as soon as possible.


Amount of the minimum wage

The amount of NZD 18.90 means that you can earn good money while doing your Work and Holiday in New Zealand. Your employer is not allowed to undercut this amount per hour. You can still negotiate a higher hourly wage. For work paid by speed, the minimum wage is also the lower limit. If you are faster, you can earn more, but if you have worked slower and would earn less than the minimum wage, your employer must top up this amount from his pocket. Whether it's supermarket, farm work, winery, potato harvest or kiwi pruning, the minimum wage applies to all areas of work in New Zealand.


Minimum Wage 2020 in New Zealand

Minimum Wage 2020 in New Zealand


Exceptions to the minimum wage

The only existing exception is for apprentices and trainees, but this is normally not the case with Work and Travel. If your employer hires you for only a few weeks or months and offers you an apprenticeship contract, this is also not correct and you should contact the relevant authorities.

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Holiday pay or holidays

Your employer must give you ONE of the two options in addition to the minimum wage. He can choose which variant he likes better.

  1. Holiday pay: Holiday pay is a compensation payment for the free time you are entitled to when you go to work. Per month there are (to my knowledge) 2 days that you should get paid off. Since many employers shy away from this, or it is too complicated for them to follow, they pay holiday pay. This holiday pay is AT LEAST 8% of your gross (before tax) earnings. Depending on your employer, you will receive your holiday pay with every pay check, alternatively you can also receive it as a one-time sum at the end of your employment. Some employers “forget” this and it is useful to point it out again, if it does not appear on your pay slip anyway.
  2. Vacation days (paid): If your employer gives you vacation days instead of the vacation money, this is completely legal. You are entitled to two paid holidays per month if your employer does not pay holiday money.


My employer does not adhere to the minimum wage

If he violates this you should contact him and make it clear that you know your rights. If he does not understand your rights you can read the following article about who can help you (blog article Problems with the New Zealand employer).


Sick leave

In contrast to Germany, a right to sick days must first be acquired. Entitlement to paid sick days only arises after 6 months of work for the same employer. If you get sick before that, it is normally not a problem, but you simply do not earn any money for these days.


Questions, remarks or ambiguities

You are welcome to post your question, comment or similar here under the blog post. We are looking forward to your comment just below this article. Thanks a lot, and have a good trip!


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