Happy cafe worker - employment changes coming into effect early 2019

There were a few bills passed by the Government in 2018 relating to employment legislation, as well as Inland Revenue changes regarding the filing of employment information.

Here is a broad overview of what will be coming into effect (and when) this year:

11 March 2019


  • Inland Revenue's ir-File service in myIR will be discontinued. Monthly EMS and employer deductions schedules should be filed in the myIR 'payroll returns' account in the Business tab. The 'payroll returns' account will automatically become available in myIR from 28 February 2019 for bringing into your workspace.

1 April 2019


  • 6% and 10% employee contribution rates will become available. The current options are limited to 3%, 4% and 8%.
  • People aged over 65 will be able to join KiwiSaver. Employers may make voluntary contributions for over-65s, but are not obligated to do so.

Minimum wage rates

  • The adult minimum wage rate will increase to $17.70 per hour.
  • The starting-out and training rate will go up to $14.16 p/h (being 80% of the adult rate).

Payday filing

6 May 2019

Restored rights to rest and meal breaks

  • Enforced breaks throughout a shift safeguard employee safety and productivity. The number and duration of breaks depend on the hours worked: an eight-hour day must include two 10-minute rest breaks and a 30-minute meal break; a four-hour day must include one 10-minute rest break. Employers must pay for rest breaks, but don't have to pay for meal breaks.

90-day trial periods restricted

  • Only businesses who employ less than 20 employees may use 90-day trial periods for new employees. Businesses who employ more than 20 employees can keep using probationary periods, which lay out fair processes for assessing employee performance.