The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Paid minimum wage does not mean worth minimum wage

While it's good news that the Government has announced it will lift the adult minimum wage next April, I'm a bit disturbed by some of the commentary around the blogs that this is for "unskilled" workers. (Between starting and finishing this post ...the gossip beat me to it though, by pointing out that many of those on minimum wage are doing the skilled work of caregiving, and no doubt other jobs that require not only skill but also experience).

It is clear to me that there are many people paid less than they ought to get - when it comes to pay people don't get what they deserve, they get what they can negotiate.

The current adult minimum wage is $10.25. On April 1st (boom boom) it goes up to $11.25. Since 1999 governments have increased the minimum four times, by 46%. Maia indicates that around 120,000 workers are currently on either the adult or youth minimum wage. That's a pretty significant chunk of the workforce, and obviously the increase will have a positive impact on their lives.

I'm worried though that there really is no commitment to abolish the age discrimination of a seperate youth minimum (and in fact no minimum at all for those under 16). The obvious steps that Government ought to be taking is increasing the youth minimum by more and more to close the gap with the adult minimum, but the increase next year will be less for 16 & 17 year olds than it will be for those over the arbitrary age of 18. Seems pretty silly to me.

3 comments:

stephen said...

You might want to do one of those joke double-takes when I say this, but the Dominion Post has a great editorial on the minimum wage this morning: ‘It’s easy to attack when on top

stephen said...

…and, isn’t it good to see that the Business Roundtable’s Roger Kerr is back in the media telling us what he really thinks on the minimum wage. It was interesting to read in the Hollow Men that he and others had a gagging order put on them so as not to scare the horses before an election. I wonder what the fact that the BRT is back in the media says about its current relationship with the Nats?

Stephanie said...

God I'm showing my age. I remember starting out on $4.25 and being really stoked!