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Issue date

date: 5 November 2015

embargo: For immediate release

Minimum wage leaving younger workers behind, warns TUC

The government’s new national minimum wage (NMW) rates risk leaving young people even further behind, the TUC has today (Thursday) warned.

The new rates only apply to workers over 25, and the TUC is calling for that rate to be extended to all workers aged 21 and above. Rates for workers under 21 should grow at least as fast as adult ones.

The TUC – which is presenting evidence to the Low Pay Commission today – will also caution that the proposed rise in the NMW will not be enough to combat in-work poverty.

Commenting on younger workers, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Younger workers must be treated fairly. It is wrong to leave 21 to 24 year olds out: they face the same expenses as other adults and are highly productive. Not paying them the full minimum wage will demotivate younger adults, who will get less pay than their colleagues for the same work.

Speaking about the adult national minimum wage, Frances O’Grady said:

“The government’s tax credit cuts will mean many minimum wage workers face big drops in their household incomes, even when pay rises kick in.  The government’s target of a £9 adult minimum wage by 2020 is achievable, but without decent in-work benefits many low earners will still be far worse off than they are now.

“Employment, the economy and earnings are set to grow faster next year. Employers will be able to afford rapid rises in the minimum wages, especially as higher wages drive domestic spending.”


- The Low Pay Commission is an independent body that advises the government about the National Minimum Wage. It is holding a two-day oral evidence session with the TUC, the CBI and others. The TUC’s full evidence can be read here:

- Two rates are under consideration: one for 25 year olds and apprentices from 1 October 2016 onwards, and another for workers aged 25 and above to apply from April 2017. The Commission will report to the government in February and the government will announce its decision in March 2016.

- A new £7.20 rate for those aged 25 and above will be introduced in April 2016.The current minimum rates:

  • £6.70 - adult aged 21 or above
  • £5.30 - aged 18-20
  • £3.87 - aged 16-17 (16 year olds above statutory school leaving age only)
  • £3.30 - apprentices aged under 19, or over 19 but still in the first twelve months of their apprenticeship. All other apprentices must be paid the relevant age-based rate.

- The NMW is enforced by HM Revenue and Customs, who have an official pay and work rights helpline: 0300 123 1100 and

- All TUC press releases can be found at
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews


Media enquiries:
Alex Rossiter  T: 020 7467 1285  M: 07887 572130  E:
Tim Nichols  T: 020 7467 1388  M: 07808 761844  E:
Michael Pidgeon  T: 020 7467 1372  M: 07717 531150  E:
Elly Gibson (Mon to Wed)  T: 020 7467 1337  M: 07900 910624  E:
Kay Atwal (Thu and Fri)  T: 020 7467 1385  M: 07941 547469  E:

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