New Zealand to end discriminatory wage law against disabled employees

The government has pledged to replace existing regulation with a wage supplement scheme so disabled employees are paid at minimum wage.
By: | May 24, 2023

New Zealand’s government will be ending Minimum Wage Exemption (MWE), a law that allows disabled employees to be paid less than the minimum wage, by mid-2025.  

This was announced by New Zealand’s Minister for Disability Issues Priyanca Radhakrishnan, who announced how the upcoming Budget 2023 would be providing $863.6 million (US$540.15 million) to help ease cost pressures on disability support services. The new Budget, she added, will increase support for disabled people to access disability services and continue developing and expanding disability support service to those who need it. 

“This unfair exemption currently affects about 800 disabled people who are legally able to be paid less on the basis they’re perceived to be less productive,” said Radhakrishnan. “Some disabled people in New Zealand are paid under the minimum wage and that needs to end. We will start this work immediately.”

The New Zealand government has pledged to replace MWE permits with a wage supplement that will ensure that all disabled employees would receive minimum wage, reported

READ MORE: New Zealand’s minimum wage sees historic increase

Under this new Wage Supplement, approximately 800 disabled employees will have their wages increased to meet the minimum wage, which will support a portion of them to move on from having to rely on benefits to getting paid employment, which will then decrease their reliance on the welfare system.