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Employers’ Federation Comment On Minimum Wage

MEDIA RELEASE

Monday 20 December 1999

EMPLOYERS’ FEDERATION COMMENT ON MINIMUM WAGE

“Retaining 20 as the age for the adult minimum wage to apply is a sensible move”, Employers’ Federation Deputy CEO, Anne Knowles said today. “However the Federation still has some concerns regarding raising the rate of the minimum wage”, she said.

This follows the announcement by the new Government that the adult minimum wage will increase from $7 to $7.55 per hour and the youth rate, for those 16 and under 20, from $4.20 to $4.55 per hour.

“It is pleasing that the Government has taken a sensible approach and has not lowered the age at which the adult rate will apply. Lowering the age would only reduce employment prospects for young people seeking to get valuable work experience as they make a start in the workforce.

“The level of the minimum wage is a balance between what society sees as acceptable and creating a greater barrier to the ability of workers with low productivity or low skills to gain employment.

“Increasing the rate in the current economy may not have a direct impact on overall employment due to current tight labour market conditions, but it could have an impact on the employment opportunities of people with few qualifications, skills or experience who are seeking work”, Ms Knowles concluded.

Contact: Anne Knowles, Deputy CEO
Conor English, Manager Corporate Communications
Ph 04 499 4111

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