. . . a cleaner who does night shifts at Auckland Council said the rise was still not enough to make it easier to support her family.
Before today, Lupe Funua’s wage was $15.10. That rate would be pushed up 15 cents to match the new minimum wage.
With a three-year-old son at home, a baby due in a few months, and a husband who was also a cleaner on minimum wage, she said every week she worried she was not earning enough. . .
That’s the story but not the whole story which should include the family’s entitlement to Working for Families and they might also be eligible for housing assistance.
. . . Once the bills were paid, she said she had nothing to send home to her parents in Tonga, which devastated her. . .
Wanting to help her parents is commendable but an employer can’t take that, or any other wishes however noble they might be, into consideration when determining what wage rates are affordable for the business.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said the government first considered a 25-cent rise, but decided to be more generous.
He said lifting the rate any higher would mean some people losing their jobs.
That is a very important part of the story. Increasing the minimum wage can cost jobs and drives the move to more mechanisation. It also has a flow-on affect for people who are paid more the legal minimum.
Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said any rise would affect the struggling dairy industry.
“I think the concern for farm employers might be around farmers employed in the roles above those on the minimum wage – farm assistants – who would also get a boost,” he said.
“That’s going to be the discussion that farm employers will have with the employees and for many it’s not going to be an option.” . .
I don’t know anyone who pays farm workers the minimum wage and most farm staff have non-cash rewards like a rent-free house which takes their annual effective pay well above the minimum.