Minimum wage increase set to benefit women most

Two-thirds of workers benefiting from the national minimum wage (NMW) increase today will be women, according to the TUC.

The NMW increases from £5.52 to £5.73 per hour for full-time adult workers today, helping some one million workers, many of whom will be female, the TUC has claimed.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The increase in the minimum wage will help thousands of families, but the low-paid face a high inflation rate as they spend a much greater proportion of their income on food and energy where prices have rocketed.”

The 3.8% increase is the ninth increase since the NMW was introduced in April 1998. Over the past nine and a half years, the NMW has increased by 59.2%, compared to a 44.2% growth in average earnings.

Barber added it was “entirely predictable” that some employer groups will say that the minimum wage increase will threaten jobs. The CBI has previously warned that increases in the NMW may result in firms having to reduce staff hours and benefits to remain competitive, with job losses increasingly likely. But Barber said: “The Low Pay Commission should robustly reject employer scare-mongering and recognise the higher inflation faced by the low paid when it shortly sets next year’s increase.”

Barber also called for a tougher crackdown on rogue employers that still find ways to cheat the system and pay less than the minimum wage.

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