Plans for a new wage for 16- and 17-year-olds will be revealed this morning by Prime Minister John Key in the hope of getting more teenagers into a first job.
He will also announce proposals to make it easier for all workers - not just those with dependants - to have more flexible work arrangements, and allow new staff to immediately decide whether to join a collective agreement.
Details leaked to the Herald reveal the Government has backed away from any fundamental changes to youth wages, and will instead propose a middle ground between the existing youth wages and the old youth rates.
Before April 2008, the minimum wage for 16- and 17-year-olds was set at 80 per cent of the minimum wage.
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This was replaced after the Labour-led Government supported a bill from then-Green MP Sue Bradford for a new entrants wage, set at the same rate but only applicable for three months or 200 hours' work, whichever came first.
National's Starting Out wage will scrap the 200-hour limit and extend the window, probably to six months.
Youth unemployment is a hot political issue and National has constantly sparred in the house with Labour, which says the Government is not doing enough to create jobs, and Act, which wants a return to the youth rates that were abolished in 2008.
The unemployment rate for 15- to 19-year-olds for the June quarter was 27.6 per cent, more than four times the overall rate of 6.5 per cent.
Act and business groups will likely see the new wage as not going far enough, while Labour will see it as tinkering that will do nothing to create more jobs.