TUC welcomes minimum wage increases

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date: 25 March 2010

embargo: For immediate release

Commenting on the announcement by the Government today (Thursday) that it has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) on new rates for the national minimum wage (NMW) TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'The TUC welcomes the rise in the adult minimum wage rate from £5.80 to £5.93 from October 2010. This is a relatively modest increase which the evidence shows employers can afford.

'We are pleased to see confirmation that the age of eligibility for the adult rate of the minimum wage will fall from 22 to 21 from October this year. This will be a significant benefit for the 40,000 21 year olds in minimum wage jobs.

'It is also good news that the apprentices who are currently exempt from the minimum wage will now be brought into the minimum wage framework with a new apprentice rate.

'Most apprenticeships deliver high quality training and pay decent rates. But a minority of low quality, low pay employers have crept into the sector. In fact, more than one in ten (11.4 per cent) of apprentices are currently paid less than the proposed rate of £2.50 an hour. Although the new minimum rate is a modest one it will end the worst cases of exploitation.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- NMW rates from October 2010:

Current rate

Oct 2010

Per cent increase

Adults

£5.80

£5.93

2.2

21 year olds get adult rate - threshold currently 22

£4.83

£5.93

20.3

18-2O year olds

£4.83

£4.92

1.9

16 and 17 year olds

£3.57

£3.64

2.0

Apprentices currently exempt from the NMW (eg those under the age of 19 and older apprentices in the first year of apprenticeship)

No coverage

£2.5O

-

- Apprentices who are under 19 or those in the first year of their apprenticeship are currently exempt from the NMW. The average length of apprenticeships has fallen since the NMW was introduced in 1999, as apprenticeship routes have become established in non-traditional sectors like business administration, retail and childcare. The TUC estimates that around 60 per cent of apprentices are currently exempt. The new rate, which will take effect in October, will better reflect the current patterns of apprenticeships. At the moment, apprentices in England should be paid at least £95 per week under the Government's contractual minimum funding guarantee. But this is not robustly enforced. This guarantee does not apply to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

- Enforcing the NMW: The minimum wage is actively enforced by the Government. Phone the Pay and Work Rights Helpline: 0800 917 2368.

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Elly Brenchley T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: [email protected]

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