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Youth Wages: Equal Pay For Equal Work

1126 words - 5 pages


Youth wages in Australia are scrutinised as it is suggested paying individuals incomes based on their age and not their skill level is discriminatory. From this arises the question of whether the implementation of ‘equal pay for equal work’ should be enacted in the work place. Further arguments discuss the tangible need for an increase in wage and whether it is necessary for a young persons’ future. In reality however, raising a youths’ income to that of an adults’ may lead to serious repercussions and ramifications, which may have impact on Australia’s economy. Australia’s youth today is in no great need of higher wages, as opportunity is plentiful in this vastly developed country. Youth wages provide first-time job seekers opportunity and financial reassurance but not absolute dependence from personal income. Minimum wage is an incentive to continue to grow in knowledge and skills for an individual’s future. This is demonstrated through the progressive motivation towards employment in youth in the past and present.


Trends in youth wages in Australia

The youth minimum wage in Australia has experienced many fluctuations over the years. Significant global events have effected these variations, as exhibited in figure 1.
Figure 1
The real hourly earnings (per hour) have demonstrated gradual growth over the period of 1984-97. This is surprising, given that there was a decline in teenage full-time employment in these years . However, enhanced demand for part-time workers resulting from extended trading hours in retail and other service industries could be one factor elucidating this trend . Due to the decrease in full time employees, employers were more willing to pay higher hourly rates to the casuals.

It is apparent that hourly earnings negatively impacted employment , suggesting that raising the minimum wage to an even higher level put pressure on employers to retain their workers. This further advocates that if the minimum wage was to be abolished, and individuals were to be paid wages not based on their age, unemployment would come to supreme heights.

Factors that have influenced changes in youth wages

The social and political factors that have influenced fluctuations in the minimum wage include the global economic crisis putting pressures on the overall economy leading to job cuts, unemployment and stress on employers. Additionally, inflation is a major cause of the variances in the youth wage. These changes put major moral burdens on youth and employers, as they frequently must update their pay rolls, budgets, etc.


Implications of youth wages in Australia

Youth wages in Australia are scrutinised as it is suggested that paying individuals incomes based on their age and not their skill level is discriminatory and extremely bigoted. On the other hand, if the minimum wage were to be increased or set at an equal rate as to adults (age 24 and over), the youth may drop out of educational programs, which are in...

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