The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Minimum wage (Starting-out wage) Amendment Bill

Summary of key points:

  • Caritas is opposed to the introduction of the starting-out wage for young people in the workforce.
  • Making young workers cheaper alone will not address the major challenges facing us as a community unable to find work for everyone.
  • Wages cannot be treated simply as a commodity, because people deserve to live in dignity on their earnings.
  • Caritas has undertaken a small-scale qualitative study in considering this legislation, which points out the complexity of the youth workforce and the potentially wide-sweeping impact of this policy.
  • Caritas does not accept that the age discrimination in this Bill is justified.
  • Young people will be made more vulnerable to exploitation, given the combined impacts of this policy together with the 90-day probationary provision allowing for dismissal without explanation and the benefit sanctions regime which penalises beneficiaries if work is refused.
  • The Bill will displace older teenagers with younger teenagers, and older workers with younger workers.  It does not create a system of employment which offers life-long job opportunities and development.
  • While public debate has focused on the impact of this Bill on young workers under the age of 20, there are also serious concerns for the open-ended provision to pay training wages to workers over 20.

  Read our written and oral submissions on the Bill here:

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