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NCWNZ disappointed at Starting-Out Wage for young people

1 May 2013
Media Release
NCWNZ disappointed at Starting- Out Wage for young people
“National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is disappointed at the introduction of a youth wage,” the Council’s President Barbara Arnold said today.

Barbara Arnold was commenting on the new "starting-out wage" of 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage for young people and people undertaking training.

“NCWNZ has a clear and long standing policy on issues of equal pay for equal work and equal pay for work of equal value. The underlying principles apply in relation to discrimination on any grounds including age.

“We are concerned about the high rates of youth unemployment but we do not believe lowering wages on a discriminatory basis is the appropriate solution. The problem is not enough jobs rather than wages being too high,” Barbara Arnold said.

“Most of our members believe that pay should be based on skills, experience and/or performance, not on age. It is possible that someone of 20 or 45 years of age could have no experience in the paid workforce while someone of 17 may have had a year or more of experience.

“We are concerned that a lower rate of pay may be a disincentive for young people to work and may undermine their sense of self worth.

“We are also concerned about displacement effects arising from those employers who will use the lower minimum wage as a means to reduce their costs. Many women work part-time in industries where young people are employed as they try to balance paid work with family responsibilities.”

Barbara Arnold also said that there are continuing questions around whether the legislation will breach privacy and human rights provisions. For example it is illegal to ask someone their age during the appointment process or to discriminate on the grounds of employment status i.e. whether they are in receipt of a social security benefit.

ENDS

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