Dutch minimum wage law hits 18-year-olds hard
The FNV trade union federation has launched a campaign in an effort to increase the minimum wage for youngsters aged 18 to 23.
An 18-year-old can drink alcohol, drive a car and vote but is only entitled to 45 percent of the adult minimum wage, the union points out. This means an 18-year-old with a full-time minimum wage job earns no more than EUR 683.30 per month.
As well as students who work to reduce their student loans, "there are almost 300,000 youngsters who leave education and start working," spokesman Ron Meyer told television current affairs show EenVandaag. "They are invisible."
The Netherlands is one of a handful of countries which does not give youngsters an entitlement to a full minimum wage at 18. Instead they have to wait until they turn 23. Young people in Greece have to wait until they are 25 but an 18-year-old there earns 87 percent of the minimum wage.
However, VU University economist Bas van der Klaauw says the low wage for teenagers keeps youth unemployment in the Netherlands low. "A low minimum wage gives youngsters a helping hand and makes them attractive to employers," he said.