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latest news in employment law

Minimum Wage Increase

Published 01 Feb 2011

Minimum Wage There are three groups to calculate minimum wages for. These are the 'Adult Minimum Wage', 'New Entrant's Minimum Wage' and 'Training Minimum Wage'. Adult Minimum Wage
This applies to all workers who are 16 years old and over who are not new entrants or trainees. The adult minimum wage increases from $12.75 per hour to $13.00 from April 1st 2011.

New Entrant's Minimum Wage
This applies to employees aged 16 or 17 years who have completed fewer than 200 hours or 3 months of employment, whichever is shorter and who are not supervising or training other workers. An employee will not be a new entrant if they are a trainee who is subject to a training minimum wage. The new entrant's minimum wage is increasing from $10.20 per hour to $10.40 from April 1st 2011.

Training Minimum Wage
This applies to employees aged 16 or over who are required by their employment agreements to undertake at least 60 credits a year of a recognized industry training programme. The training minimum wage is also increasing from $10.20 per hour to $10.40 effective from April 1st 2011.

Additional Information Regarding Minimum Wage

By law, employers must pay at least the minimum wage - even if an employee is paid by commission or by piece rate. The minimum wage applies to all workers aged 16 years or older, including home workers, casuals, temporary and part-time workers. (Source DOL)

There is no set rate for employees under 16 years old. The rates are gross before tax.

Holiday pay must be paid in addition to the minimum wage. If an employee receives "pay-as-you-go" holiday pay, this payment must be a separate and identifiable part of their pay.

There are serious ramifications for breaches of Minimum Wage requirements (and holiday pay) and Labour Inspectors (Labour Department) have the power to issue demand notices if:
  • An employee complains and the Inspector believes the employee has not received wages or holiday pay;
  • Where the employer has been given a 7 day notice to comment on the complaint and the Inspector is satisfied the employee is entitled to the wages or holiday pay.
Labour Inspectors can enter the employer's premises under the provisions of the Act, interview people and require copies of wages, time and holiday records.

Employers who fail to comply with any 'requirements' of Inspectors face penalties under the Act.

For further information, please refer to

Youth Age Restrictions on Dangerous Work

If you are under 15 year old, there are places where you can't work.

These restrictions also apply to people under 15 visiting the workplace. They don't apply to any areas if the employee works at all times in an office in that area, or in any part of that area used only for selling goods or services. They don't apply to visitors who are under direct adult supervision, on a guided tour or who are in areas accessible to the public. No-one under 15 can work if:
  • Goods are being prepared or made for sale: Any construction work is being done:
  • Any logging or tree-felling work is being done:
  • The work involves machinery. This includes using or cleaning any machine, powered tool or appliance:
  • Any other work is being done in that area that is likely to harm them:
  • This doesn't apply if at all times they work in the office or in any area used only to sell goods or services.
No-one under 15 can:
  • Drive or ride on a tractor, implement, mobile plant or other vehicles.
  • Operate machinery.
  • Lift heavy loads or perform any other work that is likely to injure their health.
There is an exemption for agricultural work, where the young person is over 13 years old and:
  • is not an employee and:
  • has been, or is being, trained in the safe use of a tractor or any implement that is attached to or drawn by the tractor.
No-one under 16 can work after 10pm or before 6am.