$15 minimum wage

It’s nice to see that Labour, now in opposition, is finally around to supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage. The problem (for the Greens as well as Labour) is that $15 an hour, when it was initially proposed, was based on 2/3rds of the average wage.  Years later, and 2/3rds of the average wage is now $17.31.  We need to start talk about 2/3rds of the average wage instead of $15 an hour, otherwise $15 will a Pyrrhic victory.

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2 thoughts on “$15 minimum wage

  1. Stevedore, the current Green policy talks about an immediate increase to $15 an hour, and then staged increases over 4 years to get to 2/3 of the average wage.

    While I would like to see it go up immediately to $17.31 as well, I think the Green response is a good pragmatic one in the face of a National Government that has increased it by less than inflation over the past 2 years.

    Hiking it by over $4 in one go could impact on the viability of some SMEs, particularly new businesses just starting out.

    I guess another option could have been to take a similar approach to that National took initially over their horrendous fire at will law – increase the minimum wage immediately to two thirds of the average wage, but exempt employers who employ less than 20 employees and allow them to pay only $15 an hour in the interim.

    But that would have been discriminatory and unfair.

  2. Hey Toad, welcome back! Yeah, good point. I guess in the case of the Greens I was commenting on the language rather than the policy, which I support. It feels like Labour feels it can support $15 because it is now not that many 50c increments away from the current minimum wage. But by the time that happens $15 won’t mean the same thing it did when we were campaigning for it in 2007/08. So we should see it as a transition to 2/3rds, like you say, rather than the end goal.

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