Youth Wage

The government will bring back a lower starting wage for young people between the ages of 16 and 19. For the first 6 months of a new job, they will be paid $10.80 an hour. This is 80% of the adult minimum wage which is $13.50.

In 2008, the Labour government got rid of the youth wage. At that time, New Zealand had 41,000 unemployed people under the age of 24. Now we have 61,700 unemployed young people under 24.

Business leaders say that it is a good idea to pay young people less when they start a job because they are inexperienced. Employers might also prefer to employ young people and give them a start in their working life.

Trade Unions say that there should be equal pay for equal work. They also say worry about jobs for older people. It will be cheaper to employ young people instead of older people.

Some young people say that $10.80 an hour is not enough to live on. More young people will go overseas for better pay.


• wage – weekly pay (salary – annual pay)
• minimum – lowest possible pay (maximum – highest possible)
• got rid of – stopped it
• inexperienced – no experience of work
• prefer – like more
• Trade Unions – organisations of workers


What do you think? Give reasons both for and against paying young people less than older people.

One Comments

  1. I think it is such disgusting idea.It could not change NZ high rate of unemployed at moment.It may make more adult lose their jobs.Because employers want to save momeny and get cheaper labours,but young people think that isn’t enough for their living.So they are still crossing to australia to find better pay.eventually,we will lose both.

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