“WELL-BEING” MEASURES QUESTION WAGE RATES

In Payroll & Employment by Clyde Mooney

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empty pocket, coins in handThe OECD’s latest outlook on employment calls for review of minimum wages and government measures to address systemic unemployment and those stuck at the bottom of the jobs ladder.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) mission is to “promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world”.

Its report suggests projected unemployment above 11 per cent in most European countries, and although its economic data relates most pertinently to the dire situation in the Eurozone, the lessons of Europe to a great extent forecast those of other OECD regions.

However, its recommendations for change, which it mandates should be effected by government, proffer the plan to: connect jobseekers with jobs, address skill deficits, and ‘raise job quality’.

Most developed nations already utilise government-backed employment services, such as Australia’s JobSearch, and systems such as Youth Stream and even ‘work for the dole’ have been implemented by governments for decades.

The qualitative issue is based in the notion that raising the minimum wage of the poorest workers will reduce inequality, and “protect workers and their families from falling into poverty”. The Organisation suggests that this will have little or no effect on employment.

But it is not explained how Australia fits into this philosophy, with a minimum hourly pay rate of $17.29 – as compared with £6.50 (A$13.72) in the UK, and $7.25 (A$9.87) in the USA.

NSW OLGR reports that employment in licensed venues increased significantly between 2010-11 and 2012-13. Full-time positions rose 13 per cent to 59,647; casual positions rose 16.5 per cent to 93,888; part-time positions rose 9.1 per cent to 36,453.