On Wednesday 3th February 2021, the Minimum Wage Review Panel met for their initial meeting to prepare for the annual compulsory review of the minimum wage rate. This year’s minimum wage review occurs in an uncertain economic environment, shaped by the global COVID19 pandemic and Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) various response plans.
Even though many employers have reduced number of employees, or their hours of work or wages, Government continues to maintain the wage-subsidy support totalling an amount of NZD 33,984,065 to date, keeping approximately 2700 workers from across 320 businesses still actively employed.
The objective of the minimum wage review panel is to strike a balance between the needs and abilities of all sectors. In order to engage effectively with the different sectors of our community, there must be the opportunity for active discussion and debate on Rarotonga and the Pa Enua.
Hence, the panel will be organising public platforms such as public meeting and written submissions in order to collect as many views as possible before making their recommendation to the Minister.
Economic environment and forecast is essential in informing our final decision, more so with the COVID19 impact. Minister Mac Mokoroa stated that “pre-Covid19, the Cook Islands enjoyed a sustained period of economic prosperity following the rapid growth of the tourism industry and a series of reforms following the 1996 crisis. The latest crisis, in form of the COVID19 pandemic, means that we must now move forward with great caution as we plan the recovery of our economy towards a sustainable and inclusive future.”
Panel members include Sandrina Thondoo, Ministry of Internal Affairs; Pim Borren, Ministry of Finance & Economic Management; Evelyn Hayden, Chamber of Commerce (for employers); John Tini, Cook Islands Workers Association (for employees); and Tangata Tou (community representative). The Panel is looking forward to engaging with our community and be in a strong position to give valuable recommendations reflecting the needs of our country to the Minister.
For any further queries or comments, kindly contact the Labour and Consumer division, Ministry of Internal Affairs on 29370 or Lazaro Unuka, Labour Inspector on email@example.com