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The Green Party today lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over the Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill.
The proposed legislation will mean that from April next year, employers will be able to pay 18- and 19-year-olds entering the workforce after spending more than six months on a benefit significantly less than the minimum wage.
"National's return to youth rates very clearly discriminates on the basis of young workers' employment status," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
"The Human Rights Act states that it is 'unlawful to discriminate on the ground of employment status in any of the prohibited areas of public life.'
"This Bill is doubly discriminatory to 18 and 19 year-olds as it creates two separate classes of employment status.
"Those 18 and 19 year olds who have not been on a benefit face missing out on jobs and those who have been on a benefit face missing out on pay.
"This legislation creates a double edged sword with which to discriminate on the basis of employment status," Mrs Turei said.
The Green Party looks forward to the consideration of the Human Rights Commission into this matter.
Link to Mrs Turei's complaint: