Youth wage plan is last century thinking

National’s draconian plan to cut the minimum wages of  young workers came a step closer today, with the Minimum Wage (Starting Out Wage) amendment bill reported back to Parliament from Select committee says Darien Fenton, Labours spokesperson for Labour issues.

“The bill enables 16 and 17 year olds to be paid 20 per cent less just because of their age and creates an unfair situation where 16 and 17 year olds who gain experience in one job, can be returned to youth rates in another job - despite the experience they have gained. 

“It reintroduces youth wages for 18 and 19 year olds, something that we haven’t seen in New Zealand since the 1990’s. 

“Paying young workers to do the same job less just because of their age is discriminatory and unfair and will have little, if any, impact on youth employment levels.

“It will, however, increase youth hardship and will particularly affect those who are returning to work after being on a social security benefit.

“It will discourage young people from seeking work and encourage bad employment practices among employers.

“And it will force many young beneficiaries into work that is poorly paid and undervalues their contribution.

“There were 531 submissions to the select committee, with only nine were favour. As usual, the Government hasn’t listened, ignoring the concerns of the majority of submitters.

“The measure simply reinforces what we already know – that National has no new ideas to address youth unemployment and has resorted to using last century’s ‘solutions’.

“They didn’t work then and they won’t work now.” 

The bill is due to come into force on 1 May.