Government rethinks position on fair pay for the young

The
Government appears to have softened its stance on the introduction of a
National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 16 and 17-year-olds, as long as it doesn’t
encourage youngsters to ignore education.

Previously
the Government had accepted the Low Pay Commission (LPC) view opposing a NMW
rate for 16 and 17-year-olds and refused to introduce another rate – the NMW
rate applies to those over 21 and there is a lower rate for employees over 18.

However,
during the LPC’s latest consultation, the Government says it would be “wrong to
allow the youngest workers in employment to be exploited through low wages”.

It
said a NMW rate for 16 and 17-year-olds, if it were introduced, should be
structured and set at a level “which does not harm their opportunities and
incentives” to remain in education or take up a training course.

Usdaw,
the union of shop, distribution and allied workers, welcomed the move. Its
general secretary Sir Bill Connor said: “We must protect this vulnerable age
group and Usdaw is pleased to learn the Government has accepted this view.”

By Mike Berry

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