EFA challenge pay rules for 18 21 year olds

The Employers Forum on Age (EFA) is challenging treatment of younger workers. They have compiled evidence to counter act claims by policy makers that equalising their pay will inadvertently harm prospects of the majority of young workers.

The government currently helps justify employer’s pay scales for younger workers by having its own pay hierarchy within its minimum current wage structure. Under current legislation it is legal to pay 18 to 21 year olds on the National Minimum Wage a lower development rate, (£4.60 an hour, increasing to £4.77 in Oct 08), compared to the minimum wage applied to those 22 and over, (£5.52 an hour increasing to £5.73 in Oct 08). Crucially, these development rates can be applied irrespective of an individual’s job or responsibilities. The EFA believes that this constitutes direct age discrimination.

EFA has submitted its evidence to the Low Pay Commission calling on the government to commit to equalising the minimum wage for 18 year olds upwards.

Catharine Pusey, Director of The Employers Forum on Age comments,

“There is a consensus that it is wrong to pay a woman less than a man or to pay a black person less than a white. Why then do we think it is right to pay someone less simply because they are younger? Under current UK law a 21 year old could be doing exactly the same job as a 22 year old, but legally the employer can pay the 21 year old less, simply because they are younger.”


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Dizali Mentha



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