Employment Market Update


Within a blink of the eye, somehow, we’re already into April 2024.

The employment landscape in New Zealand has been in a state of transformation for some time now, steered by innovation in technology, global economic shifts, and societal changes. As we step into the second quarter of the year, we discuss the latest employment law changes and the upcoming landscape for Kiwi businesses.

Minimum wage increase

The Government has announced an increase in minimum wage rates from 1 April 2024. The adult minimum wage will go up by 2% from $22.70 to $23.15 per hour. The starting-out and training minimum wage will go up from $18.16 to $18.52 per hour. This reflects ongoing efforts to enhance worker well-being and address income disparities.

90-day trial period re-activation

The Bill to extend the 90-day trial period to all Kiwi businesses, regardless of their size, was passed in December last year. Previously, these trial periods were exclusive to employers with less than 20 employees. Now, all employers can utilise the trial period and we can expect this decision to boost the confidence of Kiwi organisations looking to hire new talent.

Repeal of Fair Pay Agreements

Last December 2023, the Fair Pay Agreements (FPA) Act was repealed. The FPA Act was only in force for one year and no FPAs were finalised during this period. The repeal of this Act means that there is no longer any possibility for FPAs to be sought or bargained for.

Immigration update

2023 was a busy and challenging year for Immigration NZ. A significant highlight saw it being the first full year of open borders since 2019. New visas were introduced, including the Recovery Visa to support the country’s clean up after the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle, and the Skilled Migrant Category to support our country’s workforce.

In January, the Worker Protection (WPME) Act came into force. This Act introduces an offence and penalty regime to deter employers of migrant workers from breaching their legal obligations.

Under the new WPME Act, Immigration Officers have the right to request documents (i.e. timesheets, leave records or any other document relating to the migrant employee’s employment), from employers regarding their migrant employees.

Employers must then respond within 10 working days of these requests. If an employer fails to provide the requested documents in the required timeframe, the organisation may be issued infringement notices and can be up for high penalty fees.

Immigration NZ announced earlier this year that the median wage would increase to $31.61 per hour. This increase applies to the following visa categories: Skilled Migrant, Green List Straight to Residence, Work to Residence and Parent Category.

This means for migrants employed under these visa schemes, the wage threshold is the lowest hourly rate those employees can be paid in order to be granted the visa.

It is noted, this increase does not apply to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), which will remain at the current rate of $29.66 per hour.

As our nation continues to navigate through challenging economic conditions, and a new coalition government, the road ahead looks challenging and uncertain. Yet, it also presents opportunities for growth and resilience and Kiwi businesses are no strangers to having to adapt and grow during challenging times.

Kellie Hamlett
Kellie Hamlett
Director, Recruitment & HR Specialist, Talent ID Recruitment Ltd. She can be contacted on kellie@talentid.co.nz or 027 227 7736. Talent ID are Recruitment Specialists and can support you through your recruitment process.

Related Articles