18 Feb 2014

'Living Wage' businesses modest - EMA

3:59 pm on 18 February 2014

The Employers and Manufacturers Association says the number of businesses taking part in the Living Wage campaign has been very modest.

The campaign, which is backed by unions and some social service providers, is in its second year and says New Zealand workers now need to earn $18.80 an hour to live, a 40 cent increase from last year.

Campaigners say 12 businesses have agreed to pay the living wage, and the movement has only recently been able to start signing businesses up.

Chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Kim Campbell, says that number is small.

He says raising wages by so much could lead to higher prices and job losses.

Kim Campbell says the campaign is well intentioned, but misguided.

Wellington Employers Chamber of Commerce says there are still too many unanswered questions about the logistics of a living wage.

From January, about 450 Wellington City Council workers had their pay increased to the level of the living wage at that time of $18.40.

But the chamber's chief executive, Raewyn Bleakley, says it is still unclear where the money to fund the pay rises will come from.

She says while everyone would like a bigger income, it must come from wider economic growth, not from the stroke of a pen.