Editorial: Young need jobs but not at any price

By Kelly Makiha


It's hard to get some teenagers motivated. Earning just $10.80 an hour isn't going to do it.

The Government has announced plans to introduce a new starting wage of $10.80 an hour.

If passed, it would come into effect from April 1 next year - and would allow employers to pay eligible teens aged 16 to 19 the lower minimum wage.

The proposed figure is 80 per cent of the minimum wage, which is currently $13.50 an hour.

Sure, businesses will think this is wonderful - a smaller wage bill equals more profit, or, in the cases of struggling business, some profit.

But I am against this move for two reasons.

We want to encourage teenagers to work and to reap the benefits of doing a good job.

If they slave away for $10.80 an hour (less tax), they would be forgiven for thinking it wasn't worth their time and effort.

They will lose motivation and passion at a crucial early stage in their life.

While I'm not against teenagers having jobs, there are fewer jobs around nowadays and a lower youth wage will only discriminate against older workers.

Why would an employer pay someone $2.70 more to do the same job when they don't have to?

If there are jobs going, they should be given to mums and dads, the recently laid-off, those adults struggling to find work, or other people with more responsibilities than teenagers.

Young people should have jobs but not at the expense of older people.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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