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New Zealand

Minimum wage exemption pays workers $2.17 an hour

Many disabled workers are paid well below the minimum wage.

Employers cite many reasons for this.

Achievable – $2.17 per hour

Steve Drury is the General Manager of AttainAble. This is a social enterprise business that operates factories and community programs.

He says his business model wouldn’t be sustainable if he was paying minimum wage.

Workers with learning disabilities pack, count and label products for contract customers.

Drury pays them an average of $2.17 per hour.

If you have to pay minimum wage, Drury says, “We couldn’t offer a contracted customer a job at such a low price.”

Te Fatu Ora – $7.98 per hour

Woodford Gardens is funded by Te Fatu Ora Waitemata (formerly Waitemata DHB). It has been operated from Waitakere Hospital since 1993.

So Woodford has a 300 square meter indoor hydroponic garden.

It’s a place for individuals struggling to find open work, according to a Facebook promotional video.

they average $7.98 per hour.

Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ) also funds Wrap ‘N’ Pak, which has been in operation since the 1960s.

Like Woodford Gardens, Wrap ‘N’ Pak pays workers with disabilities an average of $7.98 an hour.

Te Whatu Ora said its company is a stepping stone for “vulnerable service users who need help to gain the skills and confidence that will one day help them find work elsewhere”. I’m here.

They declined to elaborate on whether workers are being helped to find outside work or whether Te Fatu Ora has plans for paying the minimum wage.


The current minimum wage is $21.20 an hour.

Under section 8 of the Minimum Wages Act 1983, companies can apply for exemptions for employees who are “significantly” disabled and underperforming.

As part of the exemption, employers must make reasonable accommodations for their employees.

According to MBIE, 167 people are currently employed under the minimum wage exemption permit.

“Rights-Based” Solutions

AUTs Law School’s Olivia Kelly says corporations and “sheltered workshops” are “historic hangovers.”

She wants people with disabilities to have vocational training suitable for open market employment.

Subsidies should not be based on the productivity of disabled people, she says.

“It is discrimination in itself and other employees are not subject to that sort of thing.”

She said it would be relatively easy for the government to repeal Article 8 of the Minimum Wage Act and ensure that everyone pays the minimum wage. But society will have to provide “a huge amount of support” to enable people with disabilities to get jobs on the open market, she said.

Government response

Disability experts at the United Nations are concerned that waivers violate the rights of persons with disabilities. They recommend that the government repeal Article 8 of the Minimum Wage Law and “ensure that disabled persons are paid on the basis of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.”

Poto Williams, Minister for Disability Affairs, said the wage supplement will allow workers with disabilities to pay higher wage rates, so they can pay the minimum wage.


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News Categories: new zealand.

https://cathnews.co.nz/2022/12/05/minimum-wage-exemptiondisabled-workers/ Minimum wage exemption pays workers $2.17 an hour

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