Herald on youth rates

The Herald editorial:

 Young people are particularly vulnerable to unemployment in times like the present. When the world economy is beset by problems and business everywhere is wary of taking on more commitments, older people cling to the jobs they have and vacancies are taken by applicants with a solid work record. …

The youth rate will be available for all 16- and 17-year-olds for their first six months with a new employer, but for 18- and 19-year-olds it will apply only to those who are coming off a benefit after more than six months, or are taking a recognised industry training course.

The legal minimum hourly rate for trainees of any age is already 80 per cent of the adult minimum. The youth rate, to be introduced in April, could reduce the present incentive for school leavers to take a job at the minimum adult rate rather than start a training course.

But mainly the rate is aimed at youth who are least likely to gain employment on the open market and less likely to seek some formal training. The youth rate will give them something to offer that might offset the record, maturity and reliability of their older competitors for the job.

If a temporary saving for employers can get the unskilled young taken on, they will get a chance to show their aptitude and know that after six months they have a right to a rise. It is a sensible step, approved at last year’s election. Let’s hope it works.

It is a sensible step. There is well documented evidence that the abolition of youth rates in 2007 led to a significant increase in youth unemployment. This is no surprise.

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