In accordance with the Employment Relations Act 2012, the Minister Nicholas, has confirmed a Minimum Wage Review Panel to conduct the 2017 review of the current minimum wage rate in the Cook Islands. Panel members include Sandrina, Ministry of Internal Affairs; Kaipo Ingram, Ministry of Finance & Economic Management; Steve Anderson, Chamber of Commerce (for employers); Tuaine Maunga, Cook Islands Workers Association (for employees); and Vaitoti Tupa, community representative. The task of the Panel is to review the minimum wage rate and make recommendations to the Minister who will then decide on the current rate. Factors such as prevailing economic conditions, income distribution, protection for low income earners, and work incentives, as well as public submissions will be considered when the Panel carries out the review. In 2006 the minimum rate was set at $5.00 an hour. In 2014, following the review, the rate was increased to $6.00 an hour, a 20% increase on the 2006 minimum wage rate. In 2015, the last review led to an increase from $6.00 to $6.25 an hour. The Panel has met for their first meeting on Wednesday 1 February 2017 and will be meeting regularly over the month to analyze available data before finalizing their recommendations.
Under the Employment Relations Act 2012, the Minister of Internal Affairs must review the Minimum Wage annually. In order to assist the review of the minimum wage this year, the Minimum Wage Review Panel has produced an Issues Paper for public consultation. This Paper suggests possible areas of concern and consideration in setting the minimum wage and will be available in this Saturday’s Cook Islands News. It will also be available at the www.intaff.gov.ck website. As the minimum wage will affect everyone in the Cook Islands, the public are invited to provide feedback and comment.
Public consultation helps Government decide what the minimum wage rate should be. Consultation will include one general public meeting, specific stakeholder meetings, radio and television, and outreach in the Pa Enua.
The general public meeting to discuss the Minimum Wage will be held on Friday 17 February 2017, from 12pm lunch time, at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Conference Room, Tupapa.
Copies of the Issues Paper are available in Maori and English and are being sent to all Island Administration offices in Pa Enua. Those on Rarotonga are welcome to collect the Paper from the Ministry of Internal Affairs or email us on the below address for a copy. 2
Public submissions on the minimum wage can be made at the public meeting, on radio, in writing delivered via email to [email protected] , faxed to +682 26370 or delivered by hand to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tupapa. The closing date for submission is Monday 20 February 2017 as the Panel is required to submit a final report to the Minister by 1 March 2017.
For more information about the public meeting or for a copy of the issues paper please contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Labour & Employment Relations Office on 29370 or email [email protected] .
Issued by: Ministry of Internal Affairs