Youth Wages: Equal Pay for Equal Work

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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.

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...l not be determined enough to continue on with their education and cultivate their knowledge if they already have a high-income occupation. This goes on to prove that teenagers do not need the funds of an adult worker, as they have parents who take care of most of their personal financial needs.


In conclusion, the current model for youth wages in Australia is one that is unrivaled. The minimum wage has worked for Australia’s youth for years, so there should be no reason to change it. Differential treatment of the youth and their wages should persist, as the preeminent funds are unnecessary for their current habitual and economic circumstances. Unless individuals are self-reliant, lawful negotiations should be endorsed with their employer. Australia’s youth should not receive ‘equal pay for equal work,’ the endorsement of the minimum wage must continue.

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