Labour calls for end to exclusion of apprentices from minimum wage

03 February 2023
  • Apprentices key to solving housing crisis
  • No worker should be paid less than minimum wage

Labour workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock has demanded an end to the exclusion of apprentices from a statutory right to be paid minimum wage.

Speaking at the 76th commemoration of the passing of trade union giant Jim Larkin, Senator Sherlock said paying anyone below the minimum wage for a day’s work in this country is simply unacceptable.

Senator Sherlock said:

“This year the Labour Party will advance legislation that seeks to end the exclusion of apprentices from a statutory right to be paid the minimum wage.

“From talking to contractors, they are finding it really difficult to retain apprentices and this is confirmed by Connect Trade Union who have said that excluding apprentices from being paid the minimum wage is forcing young workers out of the crafts.

“We know that people are entering apprenticeships at a later age, many already have financial commitments and paying below the minimum wage is undoubtedly reducing their uptake. This is having a real and consequential impact on the labour shortage in the construction industry in particular.

“We have record levels of homelessness, families stretched beyond their means just to keep a roof over their head, young people leaving our shores once again. Investing in our apprentices could unlock a long-term solution to the labour shortages that are causing delays in delivering homes.

“But leaving all that aside, paying anyone below the minimum wage for a day’s work in this country is simply unacceptable. Labour continues to fight the battle with regards to banning unpaid internships and as such we need to set down the same standards for apprenticeships.”

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