A Living Wage is the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A Living Wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society.

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The 2018 rate: It’s $20.55

The 2018 Living Wage is $20.55 per hour, up from $20.20 in 2017-18. That’s what workers need to earn to live a basic yet decent life. The new Living Wage will come into force on September 1st.

The Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit has completed the first full review of the rate since the original Living Wage was announced in 2012, when it was $18.40 per hour.

The new independently calculated rate results in a marginal closing of the gap between the Living Wage and the government’s statutory Minimum Wage (of $16.50) from nearly 30% to 24.5%. The new Living Wage of $20.55 over 40 hours of work means a total gross income of $42,744.00 or over a household income of 60 hours, $64,059.

Moving from a strong focus on expenditure, new sources of data this year mean the calculation reflects more of the needs of workers to survive and participate in society, including food and rent costs, energy, health, communication and education. Other estimates are necessarily based on Household Economic Survey data (Statistics NZ) and inflation adjusted for 2017.

The Government’s families package boosts the Family Tax Credit and raises the abatement threshold, which along with accommodation supplements, reduces upward pressure on the level of the Living Wage.

Maopa Vea

Maopa Vea is a cleaner at Manukau District Court on the Minimum Wage of $16.50, with a twin boy and girl, aged 5 years old. Maopa believes her employer, the Government, could do more:  “We deserve to be paid the Living Wage rate. Another 3 or 5 more years or never… Just be fair and do the right thing.”

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