Working Conditions in New Zealand

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Most of the reforms that caused New Zealand to be a welfare state were introduced in the 1930s and then in the 1970s under the rule of the Labor Party. The Labor Party managed to gain the ultimate support of the labor unions in New Zealand. Over time, New Zealand’s economy shifted towards being more service-oriented. Around this time, traditional unions, which were supported by semi-skilled and unskilled workers, started to lose their power. Learn more about the working conditions in New Zealand.

Weekly Duration
The legal weekly working hours in New Zealand is 40 hours per week. No worker is to be made to work beyond this duration unless paid an overtime wage. Working conditions in New Zealand can be decided by the employee. Flexible work arrangements, part-time work, job sharing, and home-based work are all common conditions that may be mutually decided by the employer and employee. In New Zealand, achieving a work-life balance is if given cultural importance.

Retirement Age
According to the National Superannuation Scheme, older adults may receive a pension at the age of 65. However, residence requirements may differ. This does not mean that there is a specific age at which citizens should retire. Moreover, it is illegal in New Zealand for any employer or business to force their employee to retire.

Work Contract
Employers must, by law, offer all employees an individual or collective Employment Agreement. This may not be in oral form. Instead, it should be written in clear English. The agreement should consist of the following:

  • What the minimum wage is for an employee if he is 18 or below
  • What the minimum wage is for an employee who is 16 or 17 years old
  • The agreement must ensure that male and female employees are paid the same amount
  • After an employee spends 12 months at the job, he must be allowed four weeks of paid annual leave
  • If any of the 11 annual holidays of New Zealand falls on a workday, the employee must be given a paid leave day
  • After an employee spends 12 months at the job, he/she can avail up to 12 months of parental leave

Minimum Wage
According to the latest available data, the current minimum wage was increased to NZD 16.5 per hour according to government rules.

Social Contributions
In New Zealand, social security contributions must be given by employers. However, no tax is levied on social security. Employers usually take 0.8 percent of the worker’s wage and deposit it as part of their compensation benefits. These rates may differ according to the employer’s line of business, industry sector, and the risks associated with the business. There is an extra rate for motor vehicles, in case of injury caused on a public road by a car or bus. For non-work injury compensation, employees are usually required to pay 1.24 percent of what they earn to the New Zealand government.

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