In pledging to eradicate low pay, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced today that the Government will extend the National Living Wage to 21 year olds – a key Young Women’s Trust campaign ask. Currently, only those aged 25 and over are eligible for the higher wage.
Responding, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Sophie Walker said:
“We are proud that our call to extend the National Living Wage to young people has been heard. Now the government needs to address the sexism that young women specifically experience in UK workplaces.
“Young women are more likely to be offered zero-hours contracts than young men. They are more likely to be offered fewer hours than young men. They are more likely than young men to be paid less than the minimum wage. And they are experiencing daily sexual harassment that many dare not report.
“Young women are not worth less. They have the same costs as everyone else and more – rent, bills and childcare too. Lower wages are leaving many in financial crisis. A quarter are in constant debt. Many of these factors force young women out of the workplace – yet they are the talent this government needs to address the skills and productivity gap. The Chancellor must not delay in implementing today’s policy announcement, nor in addressing the many other barriers to young women’s economic justice.”
Note to editors
- Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 18 to 30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don’t go to waste.
- The National Living Wage is the legal minimum for those aged 25 and over and is £8.21 an hour. Workers under the age of 25 are currently not entitled to this wage.
- Young Women’s Trust released a report, Paid Less, Worth Less?, making the case for extending the National Living Wage to under-25s.
- The minimum wage for 21 to 24 year olds is currently £7.70 an hour. Over a year, this means those in their early 20s can be legally paid up to £928.20 less for the same work as their older counterparts, despite having the same costs (based on a 35 hour working week).
- The Office for National Statistics’ ‘Distribution of low paid jobs by 10p bands’ data (October 2017) shows that 1.07 million people under the age of 25 are paid less than the National Living Wage. 558,000 of these are women.
- Young Women’s Trust ran a digital campaign and a Change.org petition calling on the government to extend the National Living Wage to under-25s.