The government of New Zealand has introduced employment law reforms in 2021 to improve employer-employee relationships and enhance working conditions for employees to New Zealand. A few of the major reforms include an increase in the minimum wage, improvement of pay equity and sick leave extension, fair pay agreements, and reforms for dependent contractors. These reforms have been drafted to ensure worker safety, and these rights are extended to migrant employees as well.

Minimum Wage Increase
The minimum wage of New Zealand has increased from NZD 18.90 per hour to NZD 20 per hour for employees over 18 years of age. For trainees and employees just starting work, the minimum wage has increased from NZD 15.12 per hour to NZD 16 per hour. Strict protocols are being followed by the government to ensure all employees are receiving at least the minimum wage. All national employees and foreign workers are eligible for minimum wage regardless of how they receive their pay. Employers must ensure all employees are paid minimum wage according to the number of hours worked each month.

Pay Gap Reforms
The government has introduced reforms to ensure all employees are paid equally and are not subjected to discrimination. Companies are encouraged to hire more female employees if they have the same qualifications. Through the Pay Equity Amendment Act 2020 employers are forbidden to pay lower wages to employees based on their gender, ethnicity, or age.

Dependent Contractors
Dependent contractors are categorized by having their own business practice and equipment, but are still subject to company regulations to receive the other half of their income. Drivers for ride-sharing and ride booking companies can be considered dependent contractors. Even though dependent contractors have more freedom than contract-based employment and can set the number of hours they work per day, they still experience difficulty securing employment rights. The reforms provide clear guidelines for dependent contractors and gives them more bargaining power. The reforms also minimize the control companies who hire them have over their wages.

To learn more about labor and HR compliance in New Zealand, visit Global People Strategist