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Do your homework on youth rates, EMA!

21 February 2006

Do your homework on youth rates, EMA!

The Council of Trade Unions is reminding the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) to look at the evidence when they enter the debate over youth minimum rates of pay.

"The EMA (Northern) and other business groups have argued that minimum wage increases, and in particular ending youth rates for 16 and 17 year olds, will lead to decreased employment opportunities for younger workers. New Zealand's recent experience proves this wrong," said Ross Wilson, Council of Trade Unions President.

"A Treasury working paper in 2004 (1) found that a 69% increase in the minimum wage for 18 and 19 year olds in 2001 and a 41% increase in the minimum wage for 16 and 17 year-olds over a two year period had no adverse effects on youth employment or hours worked. In fact hours of work increased for 16-17 year olds relative to other age groups," said Ross Wilson.

The Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill is due to have its first debate in Parliament tomorrow. To date United Future, Labour and the Maori Party have signalled their support to the Greens to send the bill through to select committee.

ENDS

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