2020 – changes to the employment landscape

Welcome to the new decade. This year we expect to see the war for talent continue, systems become more automated, and further Government employment changes.

Changes to the employment landscape

All employers will be affected by the changes in some form, from parental leave to work visas.

Here’s what you need to know this year:

Minimum wage rise – April 1st

The adult (16+) minimum wage (before tax) will increase from $17.70 to $18.90 on April 1st 2020.

Starting-out and training wages will also rise to $15.12 per hour (up from $14.16), remaining at 80% of the adult minimum wage.

The increase is part of the Government’s plan to increase the minimum wage rate to $20 by April 1st 2021.

Meanwhile, the Living Wage is currently $21.25 and any further increase will be announced on April 1st. Unlike the Minimum Wage, the Living Wage is calculated independently each year by the New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Unit.

Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019 – June 27th

Employees who are sub-contracted will receive additional rights from June 27th this year under the Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019.

‘Triangular Employment’ is the term to describe the relationship between an employee who is employed by a business or organisation but engaged to work under another company’s direction or control. All employers involved in the agreement can be held accountable for any employee personal grievance that arises.

More information about the changes can be found here.

Parental Leave – July 1st

Paid parental leave will also go up this July, from 22 weeks to 26 weeks. The number of keeping in touch days will rise from 52 hours to 64 hours. These changes are in line with the Government’s Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill which was passed in 2017.

The current statutory payment structure will remain the same, up to a maximum amount of $585.80 gross per week.

Work visas

Further changes to work visas are being rolled out by the Government over the next year. Last year, amendments to the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa took effect on Monday 7th October.

Read more about upcoming work visa changes here.

Breakdown of changes



Minimum wage – April 1st 2020

  • Adult minimum wage to increase to $18.90 per hour
  • Starting-out and training wage to increase to $15.12 per hour

Parental Leave – July 1st 2020

  • Paid parental leave to increase to 26 weeks
  • Keeping in touch days to increase to 64 hours

Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act – June 27th 2020

  • Employees who are employed by a business or organisation but engaged to work under another company’s direction or control will have additional rights for both employers

Work visas - 2021

  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa amendments implemented from last October 7th (2019)
  • Changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas to be rolled out by 2021

Next steps

Ensure your business is ready for change by keeping policies and procedures up-to-date. For a HR health check of your business / organisation call our consultants on (03) 366 4034 or email info@eqconsultants.co.nz


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