SER on initiative law proposal of MAN-party in Parliament Curaçao to lower age of entitlement to adult minimum wage | SMN NEWS

~"No objective nor reasonable justification for maintaining unequal financial reward for equal work performance"~

WILLEMSTAD:---  "Based on the idea that human capital must be nurtured and that work must pay, it’s a good idea to invest in young adults. Equal financial reward for equal work performance is part of this to keep motivation, morale, and work ethic at an acceptable level. Independent youngsters, who have reached the legal adult age of 18 and are working, are entitled to at least a starting salary on which they can live with dignity (decent work). This amount is in Curaçao, for adults, the gross legal (adult) minimum wage. The current minimum youth wage can therefore be abolished for young people from the age of 18."
This is the conclusion reached by the Social and Economic Council (SER) of Curaçao in its advice to the Parliament of the Leeward island, issued on January 20 this year in response to a modified initiative law proposal to amend the National Minimum Wage Ordinance presented by the MAN-party in the Parliament of Curaçao. The amendment aims to lower the entitlement age to the legal adult minimum wage from 21 to 18 years.

The SER has already issued detailed advice on this subject on February 24, 2021, in response to an earlier version of the initiative bill. The council reached the same conclusion at that time.
The SER notes that no new facts, circumstances, and or explanations are presented in the justification of the amended initiative law proposal that gives the council reason to deviate from its previously adopted position regarding what the proposal materially intends.
, Although, based on conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and European Union (EU) directives, differences in treatment on the basis of age are justified in certain circumstances, it is essential to distinguish between differences in treatment that are justified, particularly by legitimate employment, labor market and vocational training policy objectives, and discrimination that should be prohibited. With respect to the specific age category '18-year-olds', the SER has not found any ground in policy and/or legal terms that justifies a difference in treatment for this specific category - in the Curaçao context. Nor has the Council been able to find or discover a convincing justification in a policy sense for a difference in treatment in favor of the age category '19-20' year-olds who are usually employed on a part-time basis in Curaçao in the hospitality and/or retail industry.
"The advisory body is, furthermore, of the opinion that 16 and 17-year-olds, who are also active on the labor market, can be paid 75% of the adult minimum wage partly because they are subject to compulsory education and to stimulate them as much as possible to finish their secondary education. "This will also help solve the problem of early dropout," the advisory body said.

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