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Monday, 22 April 2019 08:00 pm

Living Wage employees get a pay rise to $20.55 this year

Apr 5th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Photo Supplied

Kiwis who work for living wage employers are to get a pay rise.

The living wage will rise to $20.55 an hour in September.

The change was announced by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester at an event at restaurant Rouge and Vagabond, which is an accredited living wage employer.

Currently living wage is $20.20 an hour.

Co-founder of accredited living wage employer Karma Cola, Matthew Morrison, says their company believes in treating people fairly.

Karma Cola is a New Zealand based company, which sells fair trade, organic sodas.

“We are committed all the way along the supply chain to make sure we treat people fairly and with respect,” says Mr Morrison.

Karma Cola has just been accredited as a living wage employer. Photo Supplied

“We want to find good people and make sure they are rewarded fairly, and for us living wage is just common sense.”

Mr Morrison says employers should not be worried about the financial ramifications of moving to living wage.

“It’s almost always your employees that give you the point of difference, that will ensure your success or otherwise,”

“The future of our brand and our company is not in us directors, it’s in the people that are at the grassroots that are in front of our customers and we want to find the very best people.”

“You can’t do that unless you are paying them fairly.”

Karma Cola currently employs 35 people worldwide.

They have always paid their workers living wage, but have only just received accreditation.

The Living Wage Movement Aotearoa oversees accreditation in New Zealand.

To receive accreditation all employees must be paid living wage, have access to their union, and not lose any hours or benefits so employers can afford to pay the living wage.

The Convenor of the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa, Annie Newman, said in a press statement the new wage closely reflects what workers need to participate in society.

“There are now close to 100 accredited Living Wage Employers and any employer who steps up as part of our voluntary programme is going to transform the lives of their workers,” Ms Newman says.

There are currently 683,000 workers in New Zealand earning less than the living wage, according to the organisation.

“We know people are struggling out there,” Ms Newman says.

Trade Union E Tū also supports the increase to living wgae.

E Tū campaign leader Mat Danaher said in a press release employers are starting to talk about living wage.

“We are seeing more and more employers prepared to talk about it as a base rate,” Mr Danaher says.

“There’s a growing sense that employers know they should pay their workers enough to live on,” he says.

E Tū represents multiple industries such as aviation, food workers, engineering and communications.

The changes to Living Wage will come into effect on September 1 2018.

The government raised minimum wage this week, up to $16.50 from $15.75.


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