Living wage to rise following minimum wage increase

By Jessica Tyson

New Zealand's 'living wage' is set to rise from $20.55 to $21.15 in September, the Living Wage Movement has announced today.

It comes after the minimum wage lifted today, from $16.50 to $17.70 per hour.

The living wage is defined as the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life.  It is a voluntary wage rate that employers are encouraged to adopt. 

The figure is "calculated independently each year by the New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Unit" according to the Living Wage website.

Westpac, Greenpeace, AMP, Oxfam and Cityguard are among the currently accredited living wage employers in Aotearoa.

"It enables workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society," the Living Wage Movement said in a statement.

National living wage accreditation coordinator Felicia Scherrer says the increase is “major”.

“This is a major event in the calendar of the Living Wage Movement and for ethical employers, from large corporates like Westpac, to big SMEs like Seashore Cabaret, to many small employers who want to do the right thing," she says.

“Not only does living wage accreditation support a business reputation as an ethical employer, it also means better staff culture, a lift in productivity and minimising the many costs associated with poverty wages.”

The announcement comes after the minimum wage also lifted today from $16.50 to $17.70.

The new living wage rate will come into effect on September 1, 2019.