Young people worth less
20pc cut in minimum wage for teens
A controversial ‘‘ starting- out’’ wage for teens entering the workforce went into effect last Tuesday.
Young workers employed after April 30 can now be paid $11 an hour – 20 per cent less than minimum wage – for their first six months.
The adult minimum wage remains at $13.75.
The new rate applies to 16 and 17- year- olds in their first six
hourly months of work with a new employer; 18 to 19- year- olds entering the work force after six months on a benefit; and 16 to 19- year- olds in recognised industry training courses.
But some of Matamata’s top employers of young people have indicated they will not be paying the lower rate.
The Warehouse, McDonalds and KFC have all indicated they will not be applying youth rates. They will instead pay at least the current adult minimum wage
New World Matamata owner Matthew Hart said they would only be paying the lower rate on a case-by-case basis.
‘‘In certain instances we might, [apply the youth rate] but most youth will start on minimum wage,’’ he said.
‘‘ If you get an
exceptionally young person with no experience, that could merit the starting out wage.
‘‘A 15-year-old offers different attributes than a 17- year- old, from what I’ve experienced.’’
A Countdown spokesperson said the group operated under a collective agreement and the starting out wage did not apply.
‘‘As part of our collective agreement, 15 to 17-year-olds joining the workforce for the first time are paid adult rates after three months.’’