After achieving his PhD at MMUBS in 1996, Jim spent 12 years at Warwick University before joining Massey in 2008. He has researched and published across a wide range of HRM and employment relations issues including the management of older workers; variable pay; low pay and the living wage; flexible working time; HRM in small firms and not-for-profits; employee consultation in MNCs; employee engagement; and HRM and CSR. More recently he has acted as a consultant for the ILO around employment regulation in PNG, Tonga, Nauru and for the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji.
New Zealand has a relatively high, and accelerating, Minimum Wage but is a generally low-wage economy and an increasingly expensive place to live. We present results of research amongst employees and employers into the impact of the increasing MW and the wider adoption of a Living Wage prompted by hardship and labour shortages. The results suggest that a LW is likely to improve wellbeing and commitment especially for workers in poorer households but less so where job quality is low. On the employer side, low pay is often a product of structural constraints rather than employer agency, and increased wage costs can lead to a range of organizational responses. From a policy perspective, low pay and the LW are social not simply employment issues. Wider reforms are needed to address housing and other costs as well as avoiding welfare traps.