Younger workers look to government to back full pay for 18+ year olds

Australia’s younger workers are today looking to the Federal Government to show its support for them by committing to support payment of full adult rates for 18-20 year olds.


Young workers will converge on Parliament House in Canberra today to launch the 100% Pay at 18+campaign – a campaign aimed at achieving fair pay for workers aged 18 and over.


Under current General Retail Industry Award, young adults get paid up to 30 per cent less than the full adult rate.


SDA National Secretary Joe de Bruyn said that with a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission set to consider the case for paying 20 year olds a full adult wage under the Retail Award as a first step towards providing equal pay for all adults, the time is right for the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, and the Federal Government to prove to younger workers that their issues matter.


“If our politicians consider 18-20 year olds responsible enough to vote, there should be no issue with them getting behind a campaign to have them paid as adults in the workplace,” Mr De Bruyn said.


“We’re calling on Minister Shorten to support the current case in the Fair Work Commission as the first step in a staged approach to providing full rates of pay for all adults.


“The loophole that allows retailers to pay young adults just a percentage of what they deserve is antiquated and discriminatory. There’s no doubt it needs to be removed.


“The days when you weren’t considered an adult until 21 ended decades ago. It’s time for retailers to move into the 21st century and start paying workers the wage they deserve.


“In New Zealand they removed junior rates for young adults years ago and there’s been no detrimental impact on businesses there whatsoever – quite the opposite in fact. It’s time for Australia to keep pace.


SDA SA Secretary and 100% Pay at 18+ campaign spokesperson Peter Malinauskas said that younger workers are looking to the government to provide real leadership on the issue.


“This is an issue that really matters to younger workers,” Mr Malinauskas said. “At 18 you’re considered an adult everywhere else. It just makes sense that the same should apply in the workplace.


“Younger workers are giving 100 per cent in their workplace, so it’s only fair that they get paid accordingly.  Particularly in the retail industry, by the time they turn 18 workers are often in position of responsibility.  That they get paid less than someone else doing the exactly the same job purely because of the year they were born is ridiculous.


“The big question is – will the Federal Government get behind our younger workers and support full rates of pay for all adults?”

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