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Increased pay and new sick leave entitlements for Recognised Seasonal Employer workers

From 1 October 2023, the minimum pay for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers is increasing. They will also have sick leave entitlements from their first day of employment.

8 August 2023
2 minute read

From 1 October 2023, employers in the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme must pay workers at least the minimum wage + 10% for actual hours worked. This currently works out to be $24.97 per hour.
Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme

The increased pay entitlements include RSE workers on current RSE Limited Visas granted before 1 October 2023. Employers who fail to update wages in line with the new minimum hourly wage would breach their Agreement to Recruit (ATR) commitments.

RSE workers will also be entitled to paid sick leave from the day they start work. Currently, RSE workers get sick leave entitlements after working for 6 months, under the Holidays Act 2023.

With the new sick leave provisions, RSE workers will be entitled to 2 days sick leave from the day they start work, and an additional 2 days each month until they reach their 10-day entitlement on their 4-month anniversary.

The sick leave change does not apply to workers granted RSE Limited Visas before 1 October.

If a worker transfers from one RSE employer to another, the new employment agreement must also comply with minimum pay and sick leave requirements.

RSE Scheme review

A full review of the RSE Scheme is also currently underway. The objective of the policy review is to have an RSE Scheme that:

  • respects RSE workers and upholds their rights and dignity through an improved set of policies and guidelines, backed by consistent and ethical employment practices
  • has sustainable long-term administrative settings that work effectively for the government and employers.

Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) policy review – Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment