A straw poll of www.employeebenefits.co.uk readers, which received 59 responses, also found that 14% of HR and benefits professionals do not agree with the Labour party’s proposal that the lower minimum wage tier for younger staff be abolished. These respondents instead agreed that younger employees do not have as much experience, and therefore should not be paid the same as more seasoned peers.
Around 8% of respondents think that abolishing the lower minimum wage tier for younger staff will simply increase employers’ wage bills too much, and 12% disagree with the proposal for other reasons.
In comparison, 5% believe that the lower minimum wage tier needs to be abolished because living costs are higher now and pay should reflect this across all age groups.
At a Young Labour event on 11 May 2019, the Labour Party announced that if it comes into power it will abolish the lower ‘youth rate’ of the minimum wage, which applies to employees aged below 18.
As of April 2019, the national minimum wage for employees aged under 18 was set at £4.35 per hour, while those aged 25 and over earn a minimum of £8.21 per hour. In November 2019, the Living Wage Foundation calculated that the real living wage for UK employees is £9 per hour, and £10.55 for those based in London.
The party has stated that it will provide targeted support for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to enable them to pay these higher wages, using savings following a reduction in the amount the Treasury pays out for in-work benefits.
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