Retail sector wages benefit from 2004 rise in National Minimum Wage

Some retail employees enjoyed a 7.8% pay increase as a result of the October 2004 rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW), but most staff in the sector received a more modest 3% rise, according to Personnel Today’s sister title IRS Employment Review.

IRS analysts found that the median basic pay increase in retail settlements stands at 3% for pay deals effective between 1 September 2004 and 31 May 2005. The research is based on data from 65 retail pay settlements, covering 663,973 employees.

Other key findings:

  • More than half of basic awards higher than previous year: a matched sample shows that 62% of settlements in the 2004-2005 pay round awarded higher increases than a year ago.

  • Reviews moved to October: A few organisations have moved annual pay reviews to October in line with the NMW, while others hold further reviews in October alongside an earlier annual pay review.

  • Hours and holidays: The full-time working week median for retail employees is 38.5 hours, with basic holiday entitlement at a median of 22 days.

  • Location pay remains popular: Most of the retail organisations contacted by IRS vary pay rates by region.

IRS pay and benefits editor, Sheila Attwood said: “Within our sample of retail companies, only a handful continue to set their minimum rate in line with the NMW. The 4.1% October 2005 uprating will therefore have less of an impact on retail wage bills than previous year’s rises.”

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