Retail associations have welcomed the government’s decision to accept the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to extend the national minimum wage to 16 and 17-year-olds.
From October 1, a £3 minimum hourly rate will be introduced to provide a balance between encouraging young people to stay in education or
training and protecting them from wage exploitation.
The British Retail Consortium, Scottish Grocers’ Federation and Association of Convenience Stores said the new young persons’ rate was realistic, sensible and in line with current economic conditions.
Sir Bill Connor, general secretary of shopworkers’ union Usdaw, said the rate was “tremendous news” but added his union would push to have the £3 increased to at least 80% of the £4.10 rate to be given to workers aged 18 to 21. However, SGF chief executive Scott Landsburgh said any erosion of the difference between the minimum wage and the youth rate could cause problems for retailers and youth employment.
Also in October, the adult minimum wage rates will increase by nearly 8% from £4.50 to £4.85 for adults, and from £3.80 to £4.10 for 18 to 21-year-olds.
ACS chief executive David Rae said the adult minimum wage had now reached levels that threatened c-stores.
“By increasing the minimum wage ahead of the rate of inflation, the Low Pay Commission and government are increasing the pressure on our members,” he added.
Sean McAllister