With an ongoing shortage of experienced and qualified Registered Nurses, New Zealand is consistently looking for migrant nurses to bolster their workforce and play an integral role in the future of the New Zealand health service.
At New Zealand Job Search, we take pride in helping migrant nurses find their perfect job in the New Zealand healthcare system. In addition, we go above and beyond to ensure your transition to New Zealand is as stress-free as possible.
If you are an Internationally Qualified Nurse looking to live and work in New Zealand, this helpful guide on Registered Nurse pay rates and career progression in the New Zealand health system is for you.
Working as a Nurse in New Zealand
Registered Nurses in New Zealand can work in many areas, including:
- Aged Care (Nursing Homes)
- Mental Health & Addiction Treatment Centers
- Primary Care
- Intensive Care
- Ambulatory Surgical Center
- Clinics (In-patient/Out-patient)
- Doctor's Office
- Dialysis Facilities
- Imaging and Radiology Centers
- Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Centers
- Birth Centers
- Child & Adolescent Nursing
What are the pay rates for New Zealand Registered Nurses?
Registered Nurse salaries and pay rates in New Zealand are bracketed under steps that directly relate to your qualifications, years of work experience, responsibilities, duties or expertise in a particular field of Registered Nursing.
Private healthcare employers have their own payrates and pay scales and they differ from employer to employer.
Annual base gross salary rates for NZ Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives as of August 2023 are:
- Step 7 - $83,186
- Step 6 - $80,932
- Step 5 - $78,745
- Step 4 - $71,452
- Step 3 - $67,938
- Step 2 - $64,291
- Step 1 - $59,834 (New Graduates)
On appointment in your Registered Nursing role, depending on your experience and the difficulty in recruiting for specific skills or experience required for the position, you may be placed on any step of the salary scale.
For example, Internationally Qualified and registered migrant nurses with 1-2 years of experience may start on Step 2 or 3 of the payment scale. If you are a Registered Nurse with three to six years of experience or more, your starting salary will be further up.
Nurses are paid fortnightly, and full-time work is approximately 40 hours per week. If you are a Registered Nurse starting on step 2 of the pay scale, your fortnightly income before tax would be approximately NZD $2,472.
A Registered Nurse starting on Step 7 of the pay scale would earn approximately NZD $3,199 fortnightly.
Additional payments for Registered Nurses
In addition to your base salary, Registered Nurses may also be paid for overtime, penal time or callbacks. This payment may be 1.5 or twice your hourly pay for the overtime worked, depending on the circumstances.
Annual Leave for Nurses in NZ
Registered Nurses in New Zealand are entitled to 4 weeks of paid holiday annually, usually accrued during your first year of employment. These do not include sick days or public holidays.
You are also entitled to 10 paid sick days and parental leave after six months of employment.
New Zealand Tax rates for Registered Nurses salaries
In New Zealand, all salaries are paid in gross, and employees must pay Tax and ACC at a rate determined by their annual salary. These deductions are called PAYE and are automatically taken from your fortnightly pay.
The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides accident insurance for work and non-work-related injuries in New Zealand. If you are involved in an accident, ACC may provide financial compensation to assist in helping you recover from injury.
Current New Zealand PAYE tax rates:
If you are paid NZD$70,000 annually, the tax rate is 30%
If you are paid NZD$70,001 annually, the tax rate is 33%
How do I progress up the Registered Nursing Salary Scale?
With each year of experience as a Registered Nurse in New Zealand, you will move up the pay scale in incremental steps from 1-5.
Once you have reached step 5, subject to satisfactory performance, you will automatically move up the pay scale steps on the date your employment commenced.
Approved Professional Development and Recognition Programmes
Registered Nurses who want to gain more experience and therefore move up the salary pay scale can also complete Approved Professional Development and Recognition Programmes (PDRPs).
PDRPs help nurses develop their practice and recognise additional contributions they make in the workplace. When completing a PDRP, you must submit a portfolio that is individually assessed.
What is the equivalency in my country of the steps?
If you are a Registered Nurse from Canada, Australia, the USA and or the UK, you may already be familiar with the step-based salary scale, and your previous nursing experience may qualify you to start on a higher salary step.
What are the pay rates for Registered Nurses in NZ v Australia?
While Australia may seem to have more substantial pay rates than New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand has outlined a proposed pay increase for Registered Nurses to make New Zealand nurses' salaries more comparable to those in Australia.
For nurses other than senior nurses and nurse practitioners, pay rates are proposed to increase by 4.5%.
The proposed NZ Registered Nurse salary steps (if accepted) will be:
- Step 1 - $69,566 (New Graduates)
- Step 2 - $75,304
- Step 3 - $79,999
- Step 4 - $84,523
- Step 5 - $93,912
- Step 6 - $96,728
- Step 7 - $99,630
In addition, when working as a nurse in Australia, there is no universal salary agreement, and each territories health board sets their own salary bands.
For example, if you work as a Registered Nurse in the public sector in Victoria, Australia, your annual salary would be:
- Step 1 - $67,713
- Step -2 $71,530
- Step 3 -$75,341
- Step 4 - $ 79,429
- Step -5 $83,491
- Step 6- $87,444
- Step 7 - $91,912
- Step 8 - $95,646
The proposed salary increase for Nurses shows that Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand is committed to providing competitive salaries for hardworking nurses.
How NZJS can help
With over 20 years of experience helping Internationally Qualified Nurses live and work in New Zealand, NZJS offers knowledge and support to make the transition as easy as possible. For more information on how we can help you find your dream job as a Nurse in New Zealand, register your interest today.