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Here is some essential information about the workplace — including your rights, unions, health, tax and financial planning.

Workplace rights

Information from the Department of Labour — My First Job: lunch and tea breaks, salary and wages, your basic rights, and more.

Minimum pay

Minimum pay — information on the three minimum wage rates: adult, new entrants and training, as well as details on holidays and leave entitlements, and FAQ. From the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.


You don't have to join a union, but they can provide you assistance and support in the workplace. The following sites will fill you in:


The Ministry of Business Innovation and Emplyment (MBIE) has Safety information for young workers and employers of young workers. Make sure you are informed if you are starting a job.

What if I get sick?

Generally you will be eligible for a certain amount of sick leave depending on the terms of your employment. The entitlement is specified in Holidays Act 2003.

What happens if I get hurt and can’t work?

ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) will cover many accidents both at work and at home.


If you receive any income, such as from a salary, wages, rent, business or benefit you will be required to pay income tax.

Start at this site from the Inland Revenue Department — What’s Tax.

Or get more information from the main IRD web site:

Once you start earning over a certain amount you may also have to start paying back any student loan you may have. Inland Revenue administers the repayment of student loans.

Financial planning

At some point you need to consider saving for more long-term goals. You may want to go overseas, buy a car or even a house and you’ll want to retire some day with enough money to live comfortably on. A good place to start learning about these is Sorted or go and talk to your bank.


Another thing you’ll need to think about is insurance: if you rely on your car to get to work what will you do if it gets stolen? What will happen if you are held responsible for damage to someone else’s vehicle or property — do you have enough cash to cover it? You can get insurance cover for practically anything these days. See our list of New Zealand insurance companies or talk to your bank.

March 2015