Insecure Work Makes It Easier for Dodgy Bosses to Exploit Young Workers
We know that young workers are being exploited at work, and that work is often not safe for young workers. The Young Workers Centre’s latest report reveals how the crisis of insecure, casualised work is facilitating this exploitation.
“A Broken System: How Insecure Work Hurts Young Workers” is the result of the 2021 Young Workers Centre survey into young workers’ experiences in the ACT. Hundreds of young workers across the ACT told us about their experiences at work. It’s clear that for many young people having wages stolen, experiencing bullying and harassment, and getting injured at work has become part of the fabric of their working lives.
Read the report here: A Broken System: How Insecure Work Hurts Young Workers
The outcomes on all measures of exploitation were worse for hospitality workers.
Although many employers are doing the right thing, the data shows that wage theft and health and safety failures are not restricted to a few dodgy bosses. And those dodgy bosses get a commercial advantage over good employers making it harder for them to do the right thing and stay in business.
Our 2021 report makes it very clear that a key systemic cause of young workers’ exploitation is the insecurity of their jobs. Insecure jobs create a power imbalance giving employers power over shifts and access to work and making it too hard for young workers to stand up to dodgy bosses. Young workers need protection at work and that must start with more secure jobs.
Some of the highlights from the 2021 Report:
- 3 out of 4 young workers are in insecure jobs and 7.9% are illegally employed cash in hand
- 42.1% have been unpaid for work they have done
- 49.7% won’t speak up about exploitation and wage theft for fear of losing their jobs
- 43% of 18-25 year olds are earning less than $400 per week
- 37% don’t have rosters they can predict and plan their lives around
- 36.9% injured at work in the last twelve months
- 2 in 3 not getting legally required rest breaks
Young workers say:
“I am afraid of trying to recover the money I believe I am owed.” 21 y.o. services worker
“One of my workplaces does not pay weekend penalty rates.” 17 y.o. worker
“At every shift I normally work between 30 minutes to an hour of overtime and don’t get paid for it.” 18 y.o. hospitality worker
“We don’t get paid minimum wage. Technically I get some penalty rates but at a lower rate than minimum.” 17 y.o. hospitality worker
Young workers are fed up with getting ripped off and getting injured at work and are demanding action. The Young Workers Centre is calling for systemic change to make it harder for dodgy bosses to get away with exploiting young workers in the ACT.