Spark sets new minimum staff pay rates

Spark said the move will “help transform New Zealand into a higher wage economy”

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Spark has announced a new employee salary regime under which, it says, all non-commission-based full-time employees will earn at least $40,000 annually — plus company benefits including a “generous” monthly Spark account credit as well as life, income and trauma insurance, with a combined value in excess of $2,500 annually.

“Front-line commission based roles that earn a lower base salary will have the ability to earn an average of $42,000 - more if they outperform their targets – along with the $2,500 in company benefits,” the company said in a statement.

Spark said the move would “help transform New Zealand into a higher wage economy,” and that it had “already initiated discussions with [our] suppliers to adopt a similar position within their own industries.”

Spark gave to indication as to how much the scheme — dubbed Spark Pay, a name it shares with one of the company’s mobile phone plans — would add to its annual wages bill of about $500 million.

It said: “While Spark has always paid above the minimum wage, the new Spark Pay policy has benefited over 250 employees who have received pay increases over the past two years to bring them up to the new level.”

Spark’s general manager of HR, Danielle George, said Spark been working towards this pay regime for a while, “to ensure the company attracts the best talent to serve its customers and contributes to a fairer society.”

“Our ambition is to make Spark one of the best employers in New Zealand. Average performance isn’t going to get us there: we want our people to be ‘better than average’ and therefore we’ve tried to come up with innovative ways of rewarding, recognising and compensating our people,” she said.

She added: “Given the speed of change within our industry, we’ve also done away with cumbersome, drawn out traditional performance appraisals and have moved to a world where we want all our people to have a regular one-on-one meeting with their boss or team leader. It’s radically changed the speed with which we operate, and it’s greatly improved the quality of the discussions we have with our people.”

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