Minimum wage rise welcome, structural change needed

Media Release: Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW)

18th December 2019

 

The government’s decision to raise the minimum wage is strongly welcomed by ANZASW.

The boost of $1.20 extra per hour for around a quarter of a million workers will make a difference to the lives of those on the lowest pay; however, we regret it will not be enough to lift low-income households out of poverty or to shift levels of inequality in Aotearoa.

“We appreciate this move, which has been accompanied by a rise for those on ‘starting out’ and training pay. Every improvement in the lives of those in hardship is welcome. Yet, in light of the persisting levels of in-work poverty, which disproportionately affects children / tamariki, this raise should just be the start. It is short of the living wage 2019 by $2.25.

“To meet its commitments on sustainable development, reducing child poverty and increasing well-being, the government needs to do more than make incremental improvements in the lives of those who have been let down for so long,” ANZASW Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed said.

The Association continues to call for the raising of welfare payments in line with the recommendations of the Welfare Experts Advisory Group, supports the living wage campaign, Fair Pay Agreements and enhanced protections for those working as contractors.

ANZASW also calls for a review of potential loopholes in the law that make it easier for employers to exploit foreign workers, as has been alleged in Golden Springs Motel and Holiday Park case in Reporoa.