The SDA is fighting for fair pay for 18, 19 and 20 year olds. Thanks to the hard work of the 100% Pay at 18+ campaign – 20-year-old retail workers now get the full adult rate of pay! But there’s still work to do..
Junior rates are part of many Australian industrial awards. They mean that workers aged under 21 are paid less for doing the same job as someone slightly older.
Junior rates are set in line with age. Typically, 18 year olds are paid 70% of the adult rate, at 19 they get 80% of the adult rate.
The pay rates don’t take into account experience or contribution, meaning that an 18 year old with two years experience earns less than a 21 year old with no experience at all.
Once you hit 18 you’re seen as a responsible adult in the eyes of the law – you can vote, legally drink, drive a car and get married. But you can’t get paid a full adult wage until you hit 21. It just doesn’t make sense.
Many workers aged between 18 and 21 have significant experience in their job and are often in senior positions – they deserve to be paid properly for the work they’re doing.
Employers argue that junior rates give young people opportunities – and for very young workers that’s probably right. But in industries like retail, by the time a worker has reached 18 they have usually been in the industry several years and have been delivering 100% value to their employer.
It’s only fair that workers receive 100% pay at 18.