The PaTH internship program unveiled in Tuesday’s budget is beginning to unravel before it even starts with concerns over work cover and the payment of the participants.
Unions are concerned PaTH poses a serious risk to young people and inexperienced workers, and could also undermine Australia’s entire wage system with interns earning only $4 an hour.
Currently, the Newstart allowance for a single person with no children is $527.60 per fortnight. If the “intern” works 25 hours a week in the program, they only receive an extra $200 per fortnight ($4 an hour worked), meaning they receive $363.80 per week in total.
PaTH participants would receive $68.45 per week below the minimum wage as well as missing out on other important conditions like sick leave, superannuation and weekend rates for working unsociable hours.
“The Turnbull Government has serious questions to answer regarding the legality, safeguards and intention of the PaTH scheme as well as whether or not job seekers will be forced to participate.” Commented ACTU President Ged Kearney.
“This lays bare their intention to undermine the foundations of our wage and employment systems by allowing employers to access a pool of free labour rather than offering proper wages and conditions.”