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Issue #1632      March 26, 2014

Ruling in favour of younger workers

The Fair Work Commission has 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-olds 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-olds workers get paid 70 percent of the full adult rate, 19-year-olds get 80 percent and 20-year-olds get 90 percent of the adult wage.

The Commission ruled 20-year-olds with more than six months’ service will be entitled to 100 percent pay, phased in from July 1, 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 who 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it agrees with what we’ve been saying for a long time – that paying younger workers less than the full adult rate is an outdated and discriminatory act that needs to be rectified.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. It’s fantastic that the Fair Work Commission has recognised that. We can now look towards putting this into practice in the industry.”

He pointed out that by the time a worker reaches 20, they have often had several years experience in the industry. If you are giving 100 percent at work, you deserve to be paid 100 percent too.

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.”

Next article – Vic police get powers to suppress protests

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