From today, 1 September 2023, thousands of workers will receive a pay increase to ensure they can live with dignity and participate in society.
The Living Wage rate of $26.00 an hour will see workers at accredited Living Wage Employers earning at least $3.30 more than the minimum wage.
$26.00 is the result of a full recalculation of the Living Wage, which happens every five years. In other years, the Living Wage is linked to movement in New Zealand’s average hourly wages.
The cost of essentials, such as housing, energy and transport is reflected in the Living Wage rate. The rate also considers what families need to live with dignity and participate in society, such as recreational activities and saving for emergencies.
In April, Rose Kavapalu, a cleaner at the time, shared an experience that is familiar to many low waged workers – missing out on connection and recreation.
‘Since petrol prices have gone up, we’ve cut down on visits to extended family.
The Living Wage might feel like five cents to some people, but to me and my family, it means finally living a life. (You can) feel like a family again,’ Rose said.
Victoria Nebbeling, a Community Gardens Coordinator from Christchurch, says the new rate is reassuring.
‘It means I can afford to live and keep doing the work I enjoy with a community in need. With the rising cost of living, and a new pēpi, I've been feeling anxious,’ Vic says.
‘This increase in the Living Wage is so important. I’ll be able to support my family and worry less about our increased energy bills.’
In a challenging time for many businesses, two Living Wage Employers have shared why they continue to pay the Living Wage.
Staff wellbeing is a key motivator for health and wellness brand Two Islands, and charity Māngere Budgeting Services Trust. Paying the Living Wage also aligns with their organisational mission and values.
Two Islands Founder and Director, Julia Matthews said: ‘As a health and wellness brand, we understand the impacts of stress due to financial pressure, and how important it is for us to support our employees during these challenging economic times.
While it's a hard time for businesses too, we have a responsibility to proactively support our employees through this period. This will benefit everyone in the long run.’
Lisa Dolan, Chief Executive - Tumuaki Kaiwhakahaere of Māngere Budgeting Services Trust shares Julia’s view that the Living Wage is beneficial to staff health and wellbeing.
‘Being a Living Wage Employer is another positive difference that we're making in our community. We now truly take care not only of our clients but our employees as well.
The Living Wage helps our staff deal with inflation and reduces the impact of the cost-of-living crisis,’ Lisa says.
Including Julia and Lisa, a total of 368 Living Wage Employers will begin paying the new rate today.
Accredited Living Wage Employers ensure that both directly employed and contracted staff are paid at least the Living Wage, which has a wide-reaching impact on thousands of workers and their families.