No cause to complain

No cause to complain

The MAN faction in Curaçao’s Parliament submitted a members’ bill to amend the National Minimum Wage Ordinance (see Thursday paper). In its second advice about the proposal based on a modified version, the Dutch Caribbean country’s Social Economic Council SER said there is no reason to maintain a lower limit for youngsters between the ages of 18 and 21 years.

After all, they are old enough to vote and considered adults by law. As such, equal pay for equal work should in principle apply.

However, the tripartite body favours maintaining a lower rate for 16- and 17-year-olds as these still fall under compulsory education. This way, they are encouraged to finish high school rather than take up a full-time occupation, preventing more dropouts.

Of course, most parents would prefer to see their children go to college, but the reality is that not everyone will. Besides, there are plenty of good training opportunities while working nowadays that can lead to highly rewarding careers.

In general, a greater effort should be put into helping students coming out of secondary education continue developing while already earning a living – through part-time courses, vocational training, etc. Among others, National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) and University of St. Martin (USM) are no doubt doing their best in this regard, but more seems needed.

The island’s dominant hospitality sector is a “hands-on” industry in which practical skills play a major role. Academics are always important, but learning a craft can also make a big difference in one’s quality of life.

Each youth and their family must obviously decide what’s best for them, but there are in any case lots of jobs available, judging from recent vacancy ads in the newspaper. While many are clearly placed mainly as requirement for permits to employ foreigners, locals who fail to show interest have absolutely no cause to complain.

The Daily Herald

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