Minimum wage rises for some young workers today; Union wants more to qualify

From this month, many working 21-year-olds will earn hundreds of euros more. Starting today, 21-year-olds no longer fall under the lower youth minimum wage, but will instead be entitled to the adult minimum wage. This means a salary bump from 1,373 euros per month to 1,636 euros per month, according to the government's website.

For years the minimum youth wage applied to working young people until the age of 23 years. In 2017, the government decided to gradually reduce this age to 21. A defensible measure, according to Minister Wouter Koolmees of Social Affairs and Employment. "It is very strange that someone who is 23 years old still falls under youth, while he is an adult, has to work fully, and has performance expected of him", the Minister said.

The wages specified are based on a wage-earner working full time. Currently the law does not define the number of hours required for a full-time contract, with the hiring organization or a collective bargaining agreement making the determination. It is often 36, 38, or 40 work hours per week.

There are also no plans to further lower the age limit for an adult minimum wage. "If you do that, there is a risk that people will not get a job", Koolmees said, according to the broadcaster RTL Nieuws. "That is a balance that we must monitor. But this is a major step forward."

Union FNV is pleased that 21-year-olds can now also earn adult wages, but wants more young people to qualify. "Too often young people are still confronted with a jungle of flexible contracts, sky-high study debts and still no adult wages until our 21st birthday. While we do the same work as adults", Bas van Weegberg, chairman of FNV Jong, said in a statement. "Ultimately, all people over 18 must receive an adult wage. We are on the right track, but in the coming period we will consider follow-up plans to fight for a better income for all young people in the Netherlands."

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