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latest news in employment law

Increased wages and sick leave rights for RSE workers

Published 04 Oct 2023

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have announced increases for workers employed under the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE). From October 1st 2023, New Zealand employers in the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) must pay workers at least the current minimum adult wage rate +10% for actual hours worked (minimum 30 per week). This is currently calculated to be $24.97 per hour.

This rate change applies to all workers under the scheme, not just new hires.

RSE workers currently have the same sick leave rights as all other employees in NZ; i.e. 10 days entitlement following 6 months employment. However, most RSE workers only work for short periods any way, so sick leave has largely been unavailable to them. This is changing - RSE workers will be entitled to paid sick leave from the day 1 of their employment commencing. Initially being entitled to 2 days, then an additional 2 days per month thereafter until they reach their 10-day entitlement, which will occur after 4 months.

This change in sick leave entitlement only affects RSE workers employed after October 1st 2023, not those employed prior.

INZ have also increased the national cap by 500 for RSE workers. For the 2023-2024 period it now sits at 19,500 workers. INZ are also currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the RSE scheme. For more information on the RSE scheme please see the INZ website: