A million young workers lose out on £3,500 a year, says Young Women’s Trust

By agency reporter
July 6, 2018

Up to a million workers under the age of 25 are losing as much as £3,513 a year because they are not entitled to the National Living Wage, according to Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low pay, ahead of a parliamentary debate on the issue.

The charity, which has released a report on minimum wage rates, analysed Office for National Statistics data to find that last year a million jobs held by those under the age of 25 were paid less than the £7.83 National Living Wage – the legal minimum for those aged 25 and over.

18-20 year-olds can be paid £1.93 less an hour, amounting to a loss of £3,513 a year for full-time workers. 21-24 year-olds can earn £819 a year less, despite many doing the same work as older colleagues and having the same outgoings.

For younger workers and apprentices, the situation is even harder. 16 and 17 year-olds are losing out on £6,607 each year as their legal minimum is £3.63 an hour less than the National Living Wage. The legal apprentice minimum wage of £3.70 is less than half the National Living Wage, leaving many struggling to take up or stay in the roles. Young Women’s Trust found that two in five are paying more to do their apprenticeship than they earn.

Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax, has tabled a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament seeking to extend the National Living Wage to workers over the age of 18. The Bill will have its second reading on Friday 6 July 2018.

A survey of more than 4,000 young people by the charity found that the two most popular policies among young people were raising the apprentice minimum wage (supported by 83 per cent) and introducing equal pay for equal work by extending the National Living Wage to under-25s (79 per cent). These policies were more popular than abolishing university tuition fees, which was supported by 59 per cent of respondents.

As well as receiving lower wages, under-25s who are job-seeking are entitled to less financial support than their older counterparts and to less Housing Benefit.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive, Dr Carole Easton, said: “Young people are being paid less for the same work and are increasingly struggling to make ends meet. For young women, breaking out of low pay can be especially hard.

“We all need a basic amount of money to get by, no matter how old we are. The bus to work costs the same, whether you’re 24 or 26. Gas and electricity costs the same. Rent doesn’t cost any less in your early 20s.

“Politicians should support young people seeking to be financially independent by significantly increasing the apprentice minimum wage and changing the law to ensure under-25s are entitled to the same National Living Wage as everyone else. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.” 

* Read the report Paid Less Worth Less?  here

* Young Women's Trust https://www.youngwomenstrust.org/


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