FWC rules in favour of younger workers

The Fair Work Commission has today recognised the inequity of paying younger workers less than the full adult rate, ruling in favour of paying 20 year old retail workers 100 per cent pay.

The case in the Commission, brought by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) on behalf of younger workers, looked at paying 20 year old workers under the General Retail Industry Award adult rates as the first step towards paying workers 18 and over full pay.

As it currently stands, 18 year old workers get paid 70 per cent of the full adult rate, 19 year old workers get 80 per cent and 20 year old workers get 90 per cent of the adult wage.

The Commission ruled 20 year old workers with more than six months’ service will be entitled to 100% pay, phased in from 1 July 2014 so they’ll receive full pay by July 2015.

SDA National Secretary Joe de Bruyn said the Commission’s ruling is a big boost for younger workers, thousands of whom have shown overwhelming support for the case through the 100% Pay at 18+ campaign.

The Fair Work Commission has revealed it agrees with what we’ve been saying for a long time – that paying younger workers less than the full adult rate is an outdated and discriminatory act that needs to be rectified.

For too long employers have been getting away with paying workers less than what they deserve.  Its fantastic that the Fair Work Commission has recognised that.  We can now look towards putting this into practice in the industry.

By the time a worker reaches 20, they’ve often had several years experience in the industry.  If you’re giving 100 per cent at work, you deserve to be paid 100 per cent too.

Our young witnesses told of their experiences in the workplace and the utter unfairness in paying younger workers less when they contribute equally and perform the same duties as their colleagues.

This is a real credit to our witnesses and the thousands of workers who have thrown their support behind the 100% Pay at 18+ campaign.  There’s been overwhelming support from the community for fair pay for our younger workers.

Despite what some of the business lobby groups will no doubt say, this decision will only have beneficial outcomes for employment in Australia.

The SDA’s case in the Fair Work Commission was supported by the Labor Government, the ACTU, and various other employee groups.

Mr de Bruyn said the next step in the campaign will be looking at achieving fair rates of pay for 19 year old workers.

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