The starting out wage

October 9th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Kate Wilkinson has announced:

The (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill provides for eligible 16- to 19-year-olds to be paid no less than 80 per cent of the .

“The new starting-out wage will help some of our youngest and most inexperienced workers get a much-needed foot in the door, in what is currently a tight labour market.

“The starting-out wage was one of National’s 2011 campaign promises, and designed to provide 16- to 19-year-olds with the opportunity to earn money, gain skills and get the work experience they need.”

Three groups will be eligible unless they are training or supervising others:

  • 16- and 17-year-olds in their first six months of work with a new employer
  • 18- and 19-year-olds entering the workforce after more than six months on benefit
  • 16- to 19-year-old workers in a recognised industry training course involving at least 40 credits a year.

This is not a return to . While Labour will wail about this, the reality is that it is a modest extension of what they had in place.

Labour had a “new entrants” wage which also was at 80% of the minimum wage. It was for the first three months or 200 hours. Almost no employers (2%) utilised it due to the uncertainity over hours.

All National has done is doubled the period from three to six months, and extended its availability to those coming off a benefit.

So if you get a job at age 16, then at age 16.5 you will have to be paid the adult minimum wage if with the same employer. And please don’t tell me employers will sack staff after six months as a way to save money. Only a moron with no actual experience as an employer would think that. Staff recruitment and training is expensive.

Personally I would go far beyond what the Government has done. I would have no minimum wage at all, until people are legal adults at 18. The most important thing for a 16 or 17 year old s to start to gain some work experience. They almost invariably are living at home, and are not paying their own way in life yet. The value of an initial job in terms of skills, maturity but also references for future jobs is immense.

Why have the minimum wage start at 16, not 15 or 17 or 14? 18 is the logical age.

I do like the lower starting off wage for people coming off an extended spell on a benefit. But I’d not make that age restricted. I’d have that for anyone who has been on a benefit long-term.  So long as the work is paying significantly more than the benefit, then getting them that opportunity is all important.

This change is in fact quite minor. I can guarantee you that the media will treat the minimum wage change, as a maximum wage, and interview teenagers complaining about it, and portraying it as cutting their wages when it does no such thing. No one in a current job can have their wages cut. All it means is that they can be offered a job at a 20% lower rate than the adult minimum wage, for their first six months. The trade off is that it will mean more of them get jobs, but some of them will get paid less (for six months) than what it would have been. I have no faith that the media will get this distinction at all right.

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71 Responses to “The starting out wage”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    On what is your claim that people become legal adults at 18 based?

    [DPF: Yes I know technically age of majority is 21, but 18 is the generally accepted age people get most of their adult rights such as voting, alcohol purchase, marry without parental consent etc]

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  2. smttc (767 comments) says:

    Jesus, you are a pedantic bugger sometimes Graeme. Everyone knows what DPF was trying to say. He did say “at 18″.

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  3. Manolo (14,166 comments) says:

    The weak Labour lite at its spineless worst!
    This government is never prepared to take bold initiatives or rock the boat, but always ready to compromise.

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  4. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    If it’s a low-skill job (like a supermarket shelf stacker, for example) then the three day training period still makes it worthwhile to have a six month revolving door policy. How much training expense, honestly, do you think your nearest cafe has actually invested in the kid serving you? It’s about to cost a little bit less.
    Can only imagine Manolo hopes for the good old times of slave labour. How about bonded labour then?

    [DPF: The left always claim this, but never have they ever found an actual employer that acts in this way]

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  5. Redbaiter (10,398 comments) says:

    Same old commie shit we get from Labour.

    And yet another affront to the National Party’s founding principles.

    “To promote good citizenship and self-reliance; to combat communism and socialism; to maintain freedom of contract; to encourage private enterprise; to safeguard individual rights and the privilege of ownership; to oppose interference by the State in business, and State control of industry”.

    Just pandering to the left side of the political spectrum.

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  6. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    A total disgrace. Of the employers among you, who will pay below $13.50 an hour?

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  7. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    And another incoherent comment from the Redbater – some things never change.

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  8. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    I think this policy is awful because it potentially disadvantages slightly older young people competing for the same jobs. When I was a university student I needed to get a couple part-time retail jobs to pay the rent. It was very hard to find a job as there was plenty of competition. I did get two jobs at minimum wage and was happy to have them. But under this policy high school kids will have an advantage. They can legally be paid less than me. We’d both be students, both inexperienced, but they can be paid 20% less. That isn’t a level playing field, that isn’t the free-market.

    That’s a very interventionist policy. It isn’t going to cure unemployment, just shift it to a slightly older demographic, potentially harming people in their 20s who are financially independent, less likely to be living at home and need the money more.

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  9. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    I would like a return to youth rates to be fair. Sue Bradford has abolished youth rates and liberated our youth from work entirely. Now over 25% of young people are unemployed. So more should be done urgently to enable young people to be able to get jobs. Even if it is at a low wage initially. Getting that first job is at least a start. They can go on to bigger things. And it’s much better than being on the dole.

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  10. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    ^ Scott – lack of demand for services and products creates unemployment. If business is bad, I will not need additional employees. My staffing requirements are directed primarily by demand and only tempered by profit maximisation.

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  11. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    BF…..tax sucking and regulation by Government also causes unemployment…..it is in fact the prime cause of if it in NZ.

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  12. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    Hamnida,
    I cannot see how this is an unreasonable proposition for a 16-17 year old trainee. If an employer is taking time out from a skilled workers productivity to supervise and train a 16 – 17 year old then the lower entry wage is justified.

    The alternative is that the employer will simply take on an experienced worker and not bother with kids becuase of the cost and disruption that comes with inexperienced young workers.

    I am sure we all know kids who would be happy to work for $10 per hour if they could find work or an apprenticeship. Especially given the six moths on a lower wage gives them a leg up into the work force.

    When I was a kid I worked some pretty average jobs at some bloody low rates of pay to get an opportunity to get on.

    In this environment there needs to be a bit of reality.

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  13. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    Right and left.
    You claim that it is interventionist and not the free market. If it was a free market there would not be a minimum wage that keeps kids out of work in the first place.

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  14. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    There is legislation opposing discrimination, based on age, against anyone over the age of 16. Perhaps this is what GE was questioning?

    It’s seems a bit inconsistent to encourage the employment of those under 18, when the government wants to upskill people by improving their education. These people could end up going from unskilled worker under MW job at 16 or 17, then to the benefit at 18, then back to an unskilled worker under MW job when 18 or 19. Then back onto the benefit still with little education, or in demand work skills, just work experience.

    My problem is the dropping of the bar – why not extending the number of training regimes that occur with 80% wage payment? If there is no on the job training that qualifies, then the person can easily be rotated over and left unskilled.

    And there will be a cost to tertiary students trying to pay their way through the study years in part-time work, with others being preferred.

    Is this more about polishing their turd of an economic policy that fails to create well paid jobs, thus leaves the unskilled youth without employment.

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  15. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    Not to mention that dismissing someone at 16.5 just because they now had to be paid the higher rate, would be illegal under the ERA.

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  16. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    I wasn’t thinking of the age of majority act. I was thinking of the Bill of Rights Act/ Human Rights Act. The age at which we grant people the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of age is 16. There aren’t many countries that do this, even the ICCPR on which our Bill of Rights is based, says it should be 18, but we’ve gone lower.

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  17. Kevin (960 comments) says:

    The main problem is I dont think this proposed Bill is in keeping with the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi.

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  18. Redbaiter (10,398 comments) says:

    “And another incoherent comment from the Redbater – some things never change.”

    Only incoherent from those suffering from the impairment of a left wing education Fish. (ie can’t do maths or think outside the interventionist square)

    Here is the bottom line-

    No matter whether it is a Labour govt or a National govt or any govt, the “minimum wage” is a complete confidence trick.

    That’s why it should not exist, and why the National Party in particular, if their founding principles ever meant anything, should not ever even think of entertaining such a dishonest concept.

    Its just subterfuge. National know it and they only do what they are doing to pander to the left because that option is easier than what they should do, which is to present a coherent argument against the minimum wage, and convince people to drift towards their side of the argument.

    Because that is the honest thing to do, but apparently its just too hard for the Nats.

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  19. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    Another ridiculous National party leap back into the past. The thing is, the only party that supports this backwards step is National (who cares what ACT thinks – they are zombie party already) and possibly Peter Dunne. So what that means is as soon as National get chucked out in 2014 (oh, they will lose – this means no more youth vote, and Christchurch has had enough of Jolly King Gerry the Arrogant and prissy Queen Parata the incompetent so that’ll do the job alone) this will be repealed.

    That is why arrogant Tory parties pandering to their narrow reactionary base are just a speed bump on the road to a progressive future. It is why everything popular thing with broad support Labour does (from WFF right back to 1938 Social Security Act) sticks, and National never wins power until it accepts that whatever Labour did is now the status quo. Labour/Greens will abolish these offensive youth rates come 2014, and that’ll be the last we will hear of it from National.

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  20. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    This more interventionist than simply having a minimum wage because here the govt is picking winners and losers. At least with a single minimum wage there is still a level playing field for all those applying for jobs with the same qualifications, or lack thereof. This policy takes that away, creating an incentive to hire younger workers over older ones with the same qualifications. Why should it be advantageous to decrease youth unemployment at the expense of increasing adult unemployment? Why is it better a youth who is still dependent on their family has a job while an older person with their own bills to pay misses out on a job or has their hours cut?

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  21. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    Yet another incoherent comment from the ‘bater. Move to India if you’re uncomfortable with the concept of a minimum wage.

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  22. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Greens and 3 News are promoting this as a wage cut for tens of thousands of young people. As far as I’m aware it is not a wage cut, it’s a temporary lower starting point for those on substantially lower unemplyment benefits.

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  23. Redbaiter (10,398 comments) says:

    “Move to India if you’re uncomfortable with the concept of a minimum wage.”

    Many businesses are doing just that.

    How are you going to stop them?

    By making NZ a miniature Soviet Union?

    That turned out well didn’t it?

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  24. Viking2 (11,672 comments) says:

    Some of you should stop and ask a 16 yr old if they would prefer a job at $10 and hour for 40 hours or just to continue to collect the $4.00 the Govt. gives them.
    Doesn’t take a very intelligent person to know the answer.

    There is no case for minimum wages. Its a socialist rort that creates low wages for everyone. Most of you lefties wouldn’t be able to figure out why.

    Unfortunatley after pushing for a change and a return to proper youth rates DPF has rolled over to this disengenuous slimy bit of work by the National Party.

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  25. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    If it’s okay to have a lower starting wage for teens on the basis that they suffer higher unemployment rates and some business owners tend to be biased against them, why is it not okay to have a 20% lower starting wage for Maori or Pasifika? The same logic can easily be applied to their situation. So why is age discrimination okay if racial discrimination is not?

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  26. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    FFS, they complain about the lack of jobs in one post then complain about the steps to address the problem in another.

    How do we convince these lefties that we dont live in fantasy land? There is no magic unicorn shitting diamonds here people! Well, at least until Wussell gets his hands on the printing press.

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  27. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    This has nothing to do with solving the lack of jobs. It’s about changing who businesses hire for those jobs that exist, which is a pretty socialist concept in fact. I think the govt has no place instituting such discrimination.

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  28. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    Where is the evidence that advantaging one worker for a job over another, creates an extra job?

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  29. Kea (13,554 comments) says:

    I struggle with the idea of central government dictating a minimum wage, but I also doubt the viability of any business that can not afford to pay their staff at least that much.

    How could anyone pay their staff less that the current minimum wage and still hold their heads high, or claim to have good business?

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  30. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    SPC says “Where is the evidence that advantaging one worker for a job over another, creates an extra job?”

    economics 101 of supply and demand says so.

    If I have a job that is uneconomic at cost x but economic at x-20% then I get a new job. Of course cannibalisation of existing jobs is an issue as it reduces wages for some existing jobs. The real issue is that it is temporary and therefore stupid. It will predominantly be used for cost gaming purposes as the economic circumstances that created the job opportunity are not permanent.

    Get youth minimum rates in place to address youth employment. This is the worst possible approach – does not actually address the problem but leaves National open to criticism.

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  31. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    So why is age discrimination okay

    I would have thought that was obvious: in this case the discrimination is on the basis not really of age but experience, in that employers make the straight-forward judgement that the young, inexperienced person is not worth the wages demanded by law. In other words it’s a rational discrimination not at all different from that applied for any other worker.

    Race discrimination is – to say the least – based on a whole lot more factors.

    But I think you knew that.

    Still, if you want to propose lower wages for Maori and Pasifika as a way of solving their unemployment problems be my guest. Perhaps you persuade Labour and the Greens to put it out as policy?

    I think the govt has no place instituting such discrimination.

    They’re not. They’re (partially) removing a discrimination that has been imposed by socialists for the purposes (supposedly) of reducing exploitation. Better to be unemployed than “exploited”. This is a decision that will give my son a better shot at putting his welding qualifications to good use. In short, the current regime is the one that’s discriminating on the basis of age – and this will lower that barrier.

    I don’t think older, more experienced welders need worry about my 16 year old son – though I’m sure their unions will; solidarity in the face of competition and all that.

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  32. Keeping Stock (9,373 comments) says:

    Hamnida asked

    A total disgrace. Of the employers among you, who will pay below $13.50 an hour?

    We would certainly be more likely to take on a young person at the new rate Hamnida than at the minimum wage or above. And given that it applies to 16-19yo’s coming off the benefit, I’d venture to suggest that an hourly rate of $10.80/hour will be a damned sight more attractive to them (assuming they want to work) than the hourly rate of the benefit. After all, 40 hours at $10.80 per hour equates to $432/week; a darned sight more than they would get per week to stay home and do nothing.

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  33. flipper (4,328 comments) says:

    OK we can be pedantic like GE, but that will do nothing but create words – written and spoken.
    The reality is that the NZ youth wage which will apply for six 6 months is a smidgeon more than the US adult minimum wage.
    Time to grow up.

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  34. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    Tom Hunter, The issue here is that it is not about experience, the policy specifies ages. If it was a universal policy that anyone in their first 6 months employment got 20% lower minimum wage that would be fine. There are plenty of 20-25 year olds entering new industries in which they have no experience. They are also still young, many still living at home or in education. Yet the policy does not apply to them, only to 16-19 year olds based solely on their age.

    On the flip side you could easily have a 17 year old with a year’s experience in an industry starting a job with a new employer being paid $10.80 while a totally inexperienced 20 year old gets $13.50 for the same work.

    I always thought one law for all was a concept promoted by the right.

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  35. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    This has nothing to do with solving the lack of jobs.

    Keep telling yourself that, I’m sure at least you and your left mates believe it.

    Although, over here in the real world…..

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  36. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    Flipper, The issue isn’t that the wage is too low, at least from my viewpoint. NZ’s minimum wage in general is very high and I am not among those wanting to increase it. My issue here is the arbitrary age discrimination, the govt intervening to give a certain segment of workers an advantage over others.

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  37. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    slijmbal, I would have thought year one economic theory would have applied to a lower MW for all workers, not a segment.

    But economic theory itself does not apply if the area in which these jobs exist is one that is “inelastic”. I regard our MW job market as inelastic. We increased the MW from $9 to $12 an hour within 3 years and the MW jobs continued to exist.

    Supermarkets still have checkout staff, fast food jobs continue, cleaners and carers still work – I would suspect more MW jobs not less (because of increased demand for these services). They are service jobs – cost plus. As all service providers operate within the same MW conditions, there is simply a cost plus effect or costs are absorbed because of competition (lower profits).

    If a 16 or 17 year old gets a job (do not get a benefit), an older person cannot afford study without the lost part-time job – unemployment beneficiaries under the age of 25 will increase.

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  38. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    The issue here is that it is not about experience, the policy specifies ages.

    Because – as you well know – in this case age and experience are strongly linked together. We’re not talking about 20 year old’s trying to change careers as the focal point of the problem of youth unemployment.

    On the flip side you could easily have a 17 year old with a year’s experience in an industry starting a job with a new employer being paid $10.80 while a totally inexperienced 20 year old gets $13.50 for the same work.

    Indeed – which would likely be a valuable lesson to budding socialists about the stupidities created by government intervention. In the meantime young people wanting to get started and get ahead will simply acknowledge the stupidity of the system that provides a choice of that or unemployment and keep moving forward to higher wages as they gain experience and the confidence of their employers.

    I always thought one law for all was a concept promoted by the right.

    Together with your other cheap shot comparing this to racial discrimination you’re not doing yourself any favours in the argument stakes.

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  39. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    Bevan,
    I’m not actually on the left, I voted National in 2011 and probably will again given the Greens and Labour’s insane money solutions. This policy isn’t about creating new jobs though, it just moves the unemployment figures to an older age group. Since the lower wages are for only 6 months they don’t really lower labour costs. They just replace older workers with younger ones, discriminating against the university students who often compete for these jobs.

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  40. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    tom hunter,
    I don’t know why you think that was a cheap shot. I strongly support one law for all and thus I think my position against split minimum wages is consistent with that idea, whereas National’s introduction of still more discrimination in law is against the values they’re supposed to stand for.

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  41. jakejakejake (143 comments) says:

    6 months on minimum wage, most likely another year on minimum wage after that. No wonder NZ has such high youth suicide rates.

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  42. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    As the consequence of this will be lower paid workers and a higher benefit payment cost to government – from older unemployed workers with children to support to students unable to afford continuing to study; this is just another case of government subsidy of low wage paying business?

    They should have simply extended the range of training positions where a 80% wage could be paid.

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  43. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    Bevan,
    I’m not actually on the left, I voted National in 2011 and probably will again given the Greens and Labour’s insane money solutions.

    Then I apologize unreservedly.

    They just replace older workers with younger ones, discriminating against the university students who often compete for these jobs

    Dude, there was a youth wage when I went to Uni, I still managed to get a part time job to supplement my income at adult wages. Your trying to tell us that NOW, it will be all different and those same employers who hired me are going to get all Dick Dastardly and start abusing the system with a revolving door of six month contracts? They could have done that when the youth wage was around.

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  44. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    It now includes 18 and 19 year olds on a benefit, not just 16 and 17 year olds. And there are a lot of them. So it will impact on those in tertiary study.

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  45. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    Jake,

    6 months on minimum wage, most likely another year on minimum wage after that. No wonder NZ has such high youth suicide rates.

    And what of all the youths rendered unemployable by the state’s coercive minimum wage legislation?

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  46. Keeping Stock (9,373 comments) says:

    @ Rightandleft – as an employer, let me assure you that the last thing I want in my business in high staff turnover. Whilst I would certainly consider taking on a young person to give then a kick-start, I prefer to employ mature employees who are going to stick with my business for a good while. That’s why the union and Labour claims about the 90-day “fire at will” legislation were such bullshit; no employer wants to spend all his time hiring and training new staff, then letting them go just when they are coming up to speed.

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  47. enjiner (17 comments) says:

    As a recent graduate, I’ve been a big supporter of youth wages. It’s a particularly personal issue for me, as I lost out on a job opportunity while at uni, in large part because the MW hike to $13.50 made the position unprofitable for the business.

    That said – I think this doesn’t go far enough. This won’t apply to uni students, and will tend to put them in an even more difficult position. I like Rightandleft’s proposal: the first 6 months in employment can be at a lower wage. This will lower the barrier to employment for all ages, which I think is an excellent idea.

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  48. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    I had no problem with the 90-day rule. In the US fire at will is a permanent state of being for most workers and I think the 90-day rule is a good compromise. It does give employers more ability to take a chance on a new hire. I disagree with this policy because it uses age as a criteria instead of experience. It should be an 80% wage based on training needs for all new workers, not for any specific group. I pointed out the racial angle to show just how ridiculous it is to single out a large group of people for special wages. No one would accept Maori being put on an 80% wage just because in general Maori are more likely to have difficulty finding employment.

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  49. Left Right and Centre (3,007 comments) says:

    It’s funny that today before seeing this story on Kiwiblog, I phoned a potential employer back today about a job driving a truck and trailer. Having no trailer experience gives me roughly zero chance. He’s got another fella to see who’s fully qualified. I thought afterwards- you should’ve offered to work for minimum wage for three months or something and see if you’re up to driving the big units. I’d drive a trailer for $250 a week to move up to that level.

    Driving trailers is worth a slightly higher pay rate. If the skill you want is valuable enough, you’d take less pay to get it initially. But you are definately getting something in return, skills and higher earning power.

    I remember around 1998ish going to the job board and every freakin job card was either ‘youth rates apply’ or ‘job plus’ neither of which I qualified for. I finally learnt to look for those conditions first on the card before I bothered reading it. So.. just from my experience… I remember there being no shortage of employers with youth rate jobs. Why? Because it’s cheaper. That’s it.

    Unfortunately there will be some poor bastard 16-17 year old that loses their job and keeps starting off back on 80%. What I would do is have a rule that states that once they have spent six months on 80%, that’s it. Then it can’t happen to them again. They will move up to minimum wage. I would like to give young workers the choice after six months of 80% wages with previous employers of opting for 80% with a new employer, but I feel bad employers would take advantage of young workers with no negotiating power and effectively tell them they have to choose 80% or no job.

    hmmm…. pauses to ponder….

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  50. jakejakejake (143 comments) says:

    Maoris and Pacific Island youth need more assistance to get work so perhaps they can get paid the same as the dribbling special workers from IHC?

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  51. Rufus (735 comments) says:

    Of course, no one is forcing the kids to take a job at $10/hr.

    They can just hang out on the dole (about $4 an hour or so, PLUS all the other benefits) until they qualify for the minimum wage.

    It just means those kids who’d LIKE to work for $10/hr now can.

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  52. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    Supermarkets still have checkout staff, fast food jobs continue, cleaners and carers still work – I would suspect more MW jobs not less. They are service jobs – cost plus.

    This is where DPF’s idea of dropping the MW until the age of 18 comes in. I have to admit that if there was not a minimum wage the lots of people such as the ones you describe would likely get screwed because they are in commodity jobs. However …

    I regard our MW job market as inelastic. We increased the MW from $9 to $12 an hour within 3 years and the MW jobs continued to exist.

    Our MW job market is inelastic because a crap-load of potential employees are simply locked put of the market until they get older. But once again that’s the stupidity of the current system. Designed to protect low-wage, unskilled workers, it’s screwed up the youth employment market as well.

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  53. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    whereas National’s introduction of still more discrimination in law is against the values they’re supposed to stand for.

    Uh huh. I’m with DPF on dropping the whole stupid MW deal for people under the age of 18, but I recognise the political crap that National has to deal with that has produced this compromise that is actually trying to reduce the discrimination that has been introduced by government in the first place.

    That’s crappy but it’s politics and I’m not impressed by a person who claims they voted National at the last election and then unloads on them snarky comparisons to racial discriminations and one-law-for-all. Nice!

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  54. Redbaiter (10,398 comments) says:

    “I’m not actually on the left, I voted National in 2011″

    You’re on the left.

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  55. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    ““Move to India if you’re uncomfortable with the concept of a minimum wage.”

    Many businesses are doing just that.”

    Well ‘Bater – plenty of our head offices are shifting to Australia, relegating NZ in favour of a high cost labour market with a higher minimum wage. Lowering minimum wages is a losing game that doesn’t gain much for anyone except penny pinchers (and even for them only in the short term).

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  56. Left Right and Centre (3,007 comments) says:

    If we reduced the MW to $8/ hour… they’d be full employment, right? So let’s just do that. Now everyone’s got a job!! YAY!!!!

    If you can survive on the dole, you can survive on $320 gross. Who cares if they’re low paid? That’s their own fault for being such dumb unskilled worthless mofos…. hehehehe

    Scrap minimum wage for under 18s. They can’t expect to learn the valuable skill of how to fill a supermarket shelf with tinned fish on the ridiculously overpaid wage rate of $13.50. They need at *least* six months to really get the hang of it. Stop the insanity!!

    They’ll never learn the value of a dollar if you just give it to them. It’s not frickin Big Weds.

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  57. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    Tom Hunter,
    I don’t see how I’m being snarky when I’m honestly saying one of the major reasons I vote for centre-right parties is my belief in one law for all and that I extend that belief to being against age discrimination as well. On this policy I disagree with the Nats and I’ve explained why. Do you really agree 100% with everything the party you voted for says or does? And if you don’t agree do you sit quietly because you voted for them?

    Red, 99% of NZ is to the left of you so you might as well immigrate to a country where you can be happier since your views will never, ever dominate NZ politics.

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  58. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    What I support, is extending the apprenticeships scheme (where 80% of the MW is paid) to include all training on the job – so that an employer can pay 80% of the MW during the training period. The question would be setting out the appropriate training periods for a range of jobs – including things like office work using a particular software system.

    While this would have been part of normal induction in the past, now employers want staff ready from day one and this reduces labour mobility. So does not extending the 3 month hire and fire to employees as well as employers – more employees would try out jobs if they could leave as easily as the employer could fire them.

    Labour mobility has to be a two way street.

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  59. Australis (101 comments) says:

    It might be a step in the right direction, but it’s still insane.

    If a teenager really wants to take some job which can only pay $10 why the hell does the Government intervene and order her to stay on the dole. If she goes ahead and takes up the opportunity she commits an offence!

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  60. Lee C (2,720 comments) says:

    What irks me about this is that it is just another short-term short-sighted short-term thinking action. Rather than addressing the real issues New Zealand face, such as investing into some sort of manufacturing base, instead get a policy to further cut wages for a section of the market so they can get ‘experience’ on the ‘job market’.

    What jobs? Shelf-stacking, MacDonalds, maybe? Or take the alternative ‘up-skill’ (borrowing money to do so) for that ‘better job’. Which doesn’t exist. The fifty-something guy who just go laid off from the factory/mine/plant now has to factor in that he won’t even be able to get a jo at minimum wage at MacD’s because Mac D’s would be crazy to hire him. But that’s ok. He’s ‘skilled’ and ‘experienced’ and will be snapped up by another employer when they advertise …er… sorry what job?

    And we never see the other side. Whenever we advocate for a minimum wage rise – ‘employers’ ‘can’t afford it’. Well guess what, this is a ‘raise’, (by comparison) of the minimum wage for all the hapless guys and gals who increasingly can’t rely on their job-security, and who are getting older by the day.

    You see the point is, you can dress it up in a tutu and call it Muriel if you makes you feel better, but the fact is, the government just threw everyone to the wolves – the under 18’s who will be put on a revolving door probationary period, to be sacked – ‘let go’ -when they get too expensive, the older workers who will now be squeezed out of entry-level ‘career-changes’ sorry ‘desperation-jobs’, and the amazing thing is that the very demographic which is now exposed and vulnerable from this policy will be lining up to praise it on talk-radio and KB. Of course we won’t hear a thing from school-leavers and any youngster with an ounce of gumption.

    They’ll be in another country earning money to put in that country’s coffers so that country will be able to better afford to pay pensions to its elderly.

    Or, as many young people are finding – Jail pays better, gives you friend for life, and feeds clothes and heats you better than working at MacD’s ever could. In fact we just made it an even better proposition.

    Stupid, reductionistic, political illiteracy from an increasingly incompetent government which it turns out, doesn’t have any actual real ideas about what to do. – surprise surprise.

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  61. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    My 2 cents…I have two teenagers who are both wishing it was in place now as it would make it a lot easier to get a start and it’s better than being on the dole!

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  62. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    When I was a teen I remember the local fast food joint that squeezed workers out and gave them fewer and fewer shifts after hitting the adult minimum wage.
    And I remember how young supermarket workers used to be compared to now. Might pay to listen to the kids when they complain about revolving doors at their local workplaces, and actually pay attention to the new faces of the youngsters that will slowly takeover there.
    A supermarket job or similar isn’t a step in to a new career – it doesn’t have the same value as an apprenticeship as it provides no future. Supermarkets and the like will love it though.

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  63. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    David Shearer said this will “fuel an exodus to Australia”.

    What is the equivalent there? Moving to Australian minimum wages

    For junior employees, the minimum rates are:

    Under 16 years of age $5.87
    At 16 years of age $7.55
    At 17 years of age $9.22
    At 18 years of age $10.90
    At 19 years of age $13.17
    At 20 years of age $15.59

    These will be effective for 12 months – until they step up to the next age bracket.

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  64. Lee C (2,720 comments) says:

    nice minimum wage rate at 20 though. . . in AUS dollars too.

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  65. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Off topic but how munted is our Welfare system? One of my kids had been working down south on a vineyard but came home for a holiday in between jobs the people he had just finished working for didn’t pay him his last weeks wages and because he didn’t have the money to get down to his next job he asked WINZ if they could pay his ferry back ($75.00) but they said no and instead gave him a $100 food grant?!?! So for the cost of $75.00 to WINZ he would be able to work but instead they chose to give him junk food money??? [I lent him the money and he returned the food grant! He is working now]

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  66. Paulus (2,707 comments) says:

    Shearer’s position that nthey will go to Australia – let them try and see what happens when they get there –
    there are no social benefits or support for New Zealanders in Australia for new immigrants.
    Hope they can find the airfare though – will Winz sub them ?

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  67. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Paulus – WINZ wouldn’t stump up $75 for someone with a guaranteed job to goto not much chance they would stump up for airfares to Australia…they would probably just give them $500 food grants!

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  68. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    So we are to give more work experience opportunities to 16 and 17 year olds. Then after 6 months on the dole at age 18, they can go back to these $10 an hour jobs.

    Then when the reach 19 or 20 they consider going to OZ for the better pay – as work experienced shelf fillers, check out operaters, cleaners and fast food staff.

    Has anyone in the government yet realised, that this policy encourages people to leave school at 16 or 17 for an unskilled job (trapping them in dependency on low paid unskilled work or benefits for decades), rather than stay in education? That every job they occupy, means one more person over 18 who will be without a job and on a benefit, or another woman on the DPB who cannot even get work on a supermarket counter, or a woman with a working partner without a job who would then be entitled to more WFF tax credits. The government cost to enabling lower paid labour to domestic economy service sector jobs is too high – and why?

    The only sensible policy is to simply widen the training wage programme and allow all labour to compete equally without discrimination based on age, or gender, or race etc. Intervention in the market … has to be sensible.

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  69. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    “The fundamental proposition this bill puts up is that we need to pay people less to get them into their first job so that they can have an unskilled future. That is what this bill essentially will do to New Zealanders. We see a different future for New Zealanders. We want those young people to get into training and skills so that they are not talking about getting the lowest-paid job they possibly can, but instead are looking to get the best-paid job they possibly can. If we can achieve that, we can make the dynamic change in our economic base that will give New Zealand the growth potential we need.”

    David Bennett, National MP 2010 in parliament, on why the Douglas youth minimum wage bill should not proceed.

    I guess employers have been lobbying MP’s to change their minds ever since.

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  70. SPC (5,664 comments) says:

    Critics would say youth workers were stealing jobs off older people but ACT said young people were more likely to spend their money, leading to the creation of new jobs.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/7796692/Youth-wage-divides-Govt-support-parties

    So this belief that young people spend their $10.80 an hour money whereas older workers do not spend their $13.50 an hour money, is the arguement for discrimination based on age. Which means no one law for all.

    The argument is specious. All low wage workers – whether on $10. 80 or $13.50 an hour spend their money – now there is less earnt in wages to spend. And one suspects young people living at home with their parents are more likely to spend on alcopops than others.

    One hopes these people in ACT are not the ones in talks with the Libertarians, lest the contribution to economic debate from the right declines even further.

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  71. Lee C (2,720 comments) says:

    No No No! Let’s just give it ‘catchy’ name which suggests a positive spin and then all go for a drink, safe in the knowledge that the person serving us is ‘starting out’ on a really productive career path, in a ‘cutting-edge’, innovative New Zealand industry.

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