Monday, 7 June 2010

Surcharge, Yeah Right!

Wandering around town centres in New Zealand today, a recent expat might wonder what's with all the "No surcharge" signs outside eating establishments.
Let me clear up the confusion.  A New Zealand national labour law requires employers to pay employees time and a half for working on public holidays.  Today is Queen's Birthday, one such holiday.  Unlike the States where waitstaff are frequently paid a pittance and make most of their money in tips, all restaurant and cafe staff here must be paid at least minimum wage, currently $12.75 per hour.  So on a public holiday they're paid at least $19.12 per hour.  Some places of business claim this is a reason to charge their patrons an extra fee on public holidays, saying they wouldn't be able to otherwise pay their staff the extra wages.

Commonly, you'll see food shops trying to differentiate themselves by posting that they don't charge a holiday surcharge.  See a few examples of signs that were out today in Napier.

And as another cultural note, note the Heaven's Bakery sign.  Kiwis use sarcasm as humour way more than Americans in my experience.

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