Over 50% of gig workers in New Zealand earn below minimum wage

Some 30% of gig workers estimated their hourly wage after expenses to be between NZ$18.90 and 2021's scheduled minimum wage of NZ$20.
By: | July 16, 2021

After expenses, some 52.8% of gig workers in New Zealand earn less than the minimum wage of NZ$18.90 (US$13.26), the minimum wage rate at the time, finds a survey by First Union, a national trade union in New Zealand.

The survey, which gathered responses from gig workers between September and December 2020, found that some 30% of them estimated their hourly wage after expenses to be between NZ$18.90 and 2021’s scheduled minimum wage of NZ$20 (US$14.04). 

Only 17% of workers said that their average hourly rate after expenses was over NZ$20. “Calculating the payment of workers in the gig economy is the sole preserve of the platform itself, and if workers do not like it, the implication is they can go elsewhere,” highlighted the report. 

“‘Gig work’ is often perceived as being short term and temporary, and is almost always through online apps for ridesharing, delivery driving, and online-based work like software development,” said Council of Trade Unions secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges.

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“This work is extremely precarious and those doing the work are not considered to be employees by those in charge of the business,” she said, adding that “we are deeply concerned that precarious work is frequently really bad for working people. Insecure work equals insecure income.”

“If people have no idea about their income then it is impossible to plan for the essential costs of life. Action is needed to protect these vulnerable working people.”