New Zealand raises minimum wage and taxes to 2% with more income | Covid-19

New Zealand raises minimum wage and taxes to 2% with more income | Covid-19
New Zealand raises minimum wage and taxes to 2% with more income | Covid-19
The Government of Jacinda Ardern increased the minimum wage as of this Thursday, to 20 dollars an hour (17.5 euros), in a measure that will cover about 175 thousand workers, in addition to some small increases in the unemployment benefit and sick leave. The measure is expected to affect, according to the Government’s estimates, up to 175 thousand workers, and increase salaries by a total of 216 million dollars (184 million euros).

On the other hand, the Executive has also increased taxes for those who have higher salaries – more than 180 thousand dollars (153 thousand euros) per year to 39%. They will be about 2% of New Zealanders, and the measure will bring another 550 million dollars (468 million euros) in revenue.

In the course of the pandemic, many of the workers in the essential sectors were paid the minimum wage. These include those who worked at airports and borders, considered “the front line of defense” against the virus. New Zealand adopted a suppression (not a mitigation) strategy early on, and the first measure that O Government of Ardern imposed on March it was even a mandatory quarantine for those arriving from outside, followed by strict confinement.

In 2020, unions had asked for an increase in wages for these workers. “It is very important for them. Part is the money, part is the dignity of feeling rewarded by the community for the sacrifices they have made, ”union leader John Crocker told New Zealand television TVNZ.

Jacinda Ardern said that the changes are the fulfillment of a pre-election promise and that they represent “real improvements that should have been made a long time ago to support the most vulnerable people”.

The opposition criticized the measures. “Dramatically raising the minimum wage in a period of extreme uncertainty for small businesses is economic vandalism,” said National Party labor relations spokesman Scott Simpson.

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