JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Young people should be able to negotiate own pay and conditions, says Senator Bob Day

Senator Bob Day says young people should be able to opt out of the Fair Work Act.

Senator Bob Day says young people should be able to opt out of the Fair Work Act. Photo: Stefan Postles

Young people should be allowed to opt out of the Fair Work system and negotiate their own pay and conditions with employers, according to Family First Senator Bob Day.

In a bargaining offer to the Abbott government, Senator Day says he will reverse his staunch opposition to the Coalition's plan to make young people wait six months for welfare if they adopt his proposal.

The Coalition is struggling to get the majority support needed in the Senate for one of its most controversial budget measures, with Labor and the Greens opposed to the six-month Newstart wait and support hard to find on the crossbench.

Senator Day is lobbying fellow crossbenchers to back his plan to let young people negotiate their own work conditions, which he says will give them the start they need in the workforce.

The South Australian said young people should be able to bargain with employers to work for less than the minimum wage and to waive conditions such as sick pay, holiday pay or unfair dismissal protections.

He described his plan as a ''silver bullet'' that would create revenue through more taxes and solve social welfare problems.

''Why are we denying people the option of taking jobs under terms and conditions that suit them?'' he told Fairfax Media.

This comes as the jobless rate for 15 to 24-year-olds reached 14.1 per cent in figures released earlier this month.

Senator Day, who has support from Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm for his measure, said the government had to ''let people opt out of the system''.

Senator Day was defiantly opposed to the government's current proposal to make young people wait six months to get unemployment benefits.

He said the government should stop ''being obsessed'' by young people who didn't want to work and put its efforts into those who do.

But if the Coalition supported his idea, then Senator Day said he would in turn back the government's plans to make people wait six months for Newstart, arguing this would only target the people who did not want to work.

Senator Day said he ''did not give a rats'' about employers, arguing they were big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves.

He said he was worried only about the potential employee, saying it should be ''100 per cent up to them'' to work out what conditions they were prepared to work under.

He dismissed concerns that young people might be exploited under his plan, noting that many of them were in an ''unemployment prison''.

Senator Day said it was a ''waste'' of time to deal with big business with his proposal and was targeting small business instead.

But Council of Small Business of Australia executive director Peter Strong has labelled he opt-out idea as ''bordering on anarchy in workplace relations''.

Mr Strong said Senator Day's proposal could see employers take advantage of young job seekers.

''That is a bit too chaotic for my liking,'' he said.

''We should have a system where you can't accidentally take advantage of desperation.''

Follow us on Twitter


  • What planet do politicians like Day come from? It sounds like a good idea in principal, someone can bargain his/her way into a job, but does Day seriously believe that young people won't end up being exploited? Or does he think that is better than them being on the dole: working long hours for subsistence or lower wage, casual unpredictable hours, dismissed at a whim - people in power have no idea what it is like to be powerless.

    Country observer
    Date and time
    August 13, 2014, 11:19AM
    • My daughter has just spent two months working for a cafe for no income, supposedly because she is a "trainee". The exploitation will only get worse under the Abbott government.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 11:56AM
    • I'd like to see these politicians live on below minimum wage with no family support. They'd certainly lose a lot of weight, especially in winter.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:04PM
    • How smart is this guy? What a complete idiotic idea is this clown dreaming about.

      Grey Nomad
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:04PM
    • @ Country Observer
      I think they come from the lack of comprehension and thoughtfulness planet.
      To have a negotiation presupposes at least 2 people of equal status and standing. Otherwise it is exploitation. Maybe that is what Sen Day is suggesting. That business is entitled to exploit young, naive and inexperienced workers who don't warrant any legal protections. If that is the case why do we have any such status as under age at all?
      Who elects these people - they must be as ill informed and lacking in critical thought process as those they elect.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:09PM
    • May, I think you will find this is illegal and the business should be hauled off the Fair Work Australia for prosecution to recover unpaid wages. It is exploitation, pure and simple.

      The Read
      Wagga Wagga
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:11PM
    • Day must be expecting an offer to be endorsed in a safe LNP senate seat. It seems that he fits in with their hard right, punish the poor, protect the rich, ideology.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:13PM
    • @ May
      Two months? That's a bit excessive. Sounds more like a rip-off. Have a look at Fair Work Australia's website for more information (search for "unpaid trials" and "trainee pay").
      I hope she's been keeping a diary of the shifts she's done. Will come in handy when she asks for the back pay to which she is entitled, and for FWA to have the unscrupulous owner slugged with a fine.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:31PM
    • He comes from the same planet as Steve Fielding - and he will go the same way.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:48PM
    • Country, I totally agree. The libs love the dog whistle of cracking down on those who exploit welfare; but when business does the exploiting, they're fast to defend the business community. They do not govern for all.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 1:24PM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

Follow Us

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo