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Previous: Company Policy

Isha took the paper from him.

"I have improvised it a little", said Rosh, "It is both funny as well as sad, depending on which goggles you are wearing. The numbers are not factual, but it doesn't matter. You'll get the big picture."

"While Management continues to rake in the moolah, economic conditions, company policies and the need to fund an ever-growing list of Government services and programs are virtually leaving other employees with a take home pay that beggars belief."

"Not that I blame them for it" he continued, "After all, I went and applied for the job. I chose to live in this country. They didn't come knocking on my door. So it is my fault that I sell myself cheaply. If I don't like it any more, I'll need to move on."

She nodded sadly and looked at the paper in her hand. It read:

PAYCHECK GUIDE

The following helpful guide has been prepared to help our employees better understand their paychecks:

Gross pay ......................$992.02
Income tax .....................$244.40
Service tax .....................$37.77
State tax ........................$11.61
Interstate tax ..................$1.10
County tax .....................$6.11
City tax ..........................$52.22
Rural tax ........................$7.44
Back tax ........................$1.91
Front tax ........................$1.16
Side tax .........................$1.61
Up tax ............................$2.24
Down tax ........................$2.98
Pavement tax ..................$3.93
Berm tax .........................$3.97
Road tax .........................$4.93
Road User tax .................$5.87
Street Lighting tax ...........$2.66
Petrol tax ........................$21.98
Flat tax ...........................$32.69
Surtax .............................$18.32
Tic-Tacs ..........................$3.46
Thumbtacks .....................$2.60
Carpet tacks .....................$7.08
Child Support payment ......$81.88
Student Loan repayment ...$94.03
Life insurance ...................$7.85
Health insurance ...............$17.23
Dental insurance ...............$5.51
Mental insurance ...............$55.33
Disability levy.....................$3.50
Ability levy.........................$1.25
Liability levy.......................$3.41
Unreliability levy .................$10.99
Parking fee ........................$26.85
TGIF Fund .........................$6.56
Super Fund ........................$6.13
Duper Fund ........................$12.21
Floor rental .........................$26.85
Carpet rental .......................$5.85
Tile rental ...........................$4.32
Chair rental .........................$1.32
Desk rental .........................$3.77
Desktop rental ....................$20.69
Phone rental .......................$1.26
Secretary pooling ................$21.35
Union dues .........................$14.83
Union don'ts ........................$9.88
Cash advance .....................$28.00
Cash retreat ........................$7.00
Oxygen duty ........................$1.25
Water charges......................$6.54
Wastewater charges..............$11.42
Heating Levy ........................$6.83
Cool air levy .........................$2.13
Toilet use charges ................$0.81
Miscellaneous ......................$3.05
Sundry .................................$4.09
========================
Net Take Home Pay ............$0.01

She laughed, but then became serious.

"This wouldn't be funny if it were real", she commented, "It's not a Living Wage! It would be a cruel joke."

"Living Wage?", he was bitter, "In February 2013, independent research by the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit identified the New Zealand Living Wage as $18.40 per hour. This compared to a statutory minimum wage of $14.25 per hour. How many employers want to pay even that?"

"And NZ is a developed country. Even though minimum wage is enforced by statute here, we were 23rd worst out of 30 developed countries for income inequality, according to a 2008 OECD Report."

"We went from being one of the most equal to one of the most unequal countries in the world in the last two decades. Most of that increase was due to larger pay increases for the top earners while those on low wages have been held back."

"But in this printout", she argued, "the Net pay is so small, despite a reasonably average Gross pay earned. Isn't there a Protected Net Earnings ensuring a minimum 60% pay under the Wages Protection Act 1983? Like a minimum take home pay guarantee."

"I don't know about other countries", Rosh answered, "but I believe in NZ, Protected Net Earnings only applies to child support deductions made by employers. This includes, I believe, beneficiaries paid by Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ)."

Payday!"According to Inland Revenue Department (IRD), the maximum amount of child support deductions is set at 40% of an employee's net pay. This is called Protected Net Earnings."

"But other deductions can still be made, even if the employee will receive less than 60% of their net pay. So, the net pay could be zero, and it could still be legal."

"Maybe", she pondered, "but would it be ethical?"

"Ethics is a matter of opinion", he responded, "Commerce or Countries don't run on opinion".

"Don't they?" she asked simply.

He stared at her, speechless.

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