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From 1 July 2017, the age of minimum wage was reduced from 23 to 21, and employees aged 22 and above would be entitled to a full legal minimum wage. The wages of employees aged between 18 and 21 were also raised.

The government adjusted this increment in two steps.

Step 1 began on 1 July, 2017.

For those 18 years old, 19 years old, 20 years old and 21 years old, the fixed percentage of the legal minimum wage was increased. This was 100% for a 22-year-old. Since then, they have been entitled to a full legal minimum wage.

Step 2 begins on 1 July, 2019.

For 18, 19 and 20-year-olds, the fixed percentage of the legal minimum wage will be increased further. This is 100% for a 21 year-old. They are then entitled to a full legal minimum wage.

The reasons for applying the minimum wage to employees aged 21 and over are:

  • Parents are legally obligated to look after their children before the age of 21. After that, their children must take care of themselves.
  • More and more young people aged 21 and 22 live alone nowadays. And this means more economic burden for them. As wages increase, they can more easily pay for their expenses.
  • More and more employers reward employees based on education and experience, not on age. In some collective agreements, there is no longer a youth wage.
  • Many young people have completed their studies at the age of 21 and they start working full time.
  • The minimum wage for young people aged 21 and 22 does not meet the principle of equal work for equal pay.
  • In many countries, a 21-year-old has the right to a full legal minimum wage.

Employers’ measures

By increasing the minimum youth wage, employers must pay more for young people between the age of 18 and 22. This leads to higher wage costs. This may result in less job opportunities for young people.

Some measures can prevent this as much as possible:

This gradual increment allow employers time to respond to the new situation, since the change plan is not an immediate process, but a two-step process. After 1 year, the development of the labor market status of young people between the aged of 18 and 22 will be examined. If it differs from other age groups, the government will take additional measures.

Source: Rijksoverheid.nl