Pub­lic ser­vants get liv­ing wage

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - SU­SAN EDMUNDS

All core pub­lic ser­vice em­ploy­ees are be­ing given a pay rise to at least the liv­ing wage of $20.55.

The new hourly rate, which works out to an an­nual salary of $42,744, will ap­ply to full-time, part-time and ca­sual em­ploy­ees. It will be im­ple­mented on Septem­ber 1. Min­is­ter of State Ser­vices Chris Hip­kins said the de­ci­sion was made to sup­port fair pay and em­ploy­ment con­di­tions ‘‘for a de­cent stan­dard of liv­ing for all New Zealan­ders’’.

‘‘This gov­ern­ment strongly be­lieves that ev­ery worker should be in a sit­u­a­tion where the pay they re­ceive means they can at least make ends meet,’’ he said.

‘‘Most of the work­ers who will ben­e­fit work in 13 gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, and work in jobs in­clud­ing cler­i­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tion work­ers, wel­fare work­ers, con­tact centre work­ers and as­sis­tant cus­toms of­fi­cers.

‘‘The de­part­ments will meet the es­ti­mated $7.23 mil­lion cost of the one-off ad­just­ment from within their base­lines.

‘‘In sub­se­quent years, the rate will be sub­ject to bar­gain­ing be­tween gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ers and unions such as the New Zealand Pub­lic Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion.’’

The ‘‘liv­ing wage’’ is set at a level that is needed for work­ers to cover the ba­sic ex­penses of life in­clud­ing food, trans­porta­tion, hous­ing and child­care.

It is cal­cu­lated in­de­pen­dently each year by the New Zealand Fam­ily Centre So­cial Pol­icy Unit.

The liv­ing wage is cur­rently $4.05 an hour higher than the min­i­mum wage.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuf­fley said it could put pres­sure on other busi­nesses to match the in­crease.

‘‘It does have the po­ten­tial to spill over and in­flu­ence what other peo­ple may need to pay to at­tract and re­tain peo­ple.’’

But Kim Camp­bell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Em­ploy­ers and Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said only 2000 of 38,000 pub­lic ser­vants were af­fected - too small a num­ber to make a dif­fer­ence.

‘‘The gov­ern­ment pays bet­ter than any­one else, any­way. In many ways what they are try­ing to do is sug­gest other peo­ple should have the sort of money the gov­ern­ment has to spend.’’

Min­is­ter of State Ser­vices Chris Hip­kins said the de­ci­sion was made to sup­port fair pay and em­ploy­ment con­di­tions.

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