National Living Wage should be extended to under-25s, says YWT

Thursday 3 May 2018

YWTCommenting on today’s parliamentary debate on extending the National Living Wage to under-25s, led by David Linden MP, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

“More than a million under-25s earn less than the National Living Wage. As a result of low pay, young people are falling into debt, using foodbanks and reporting low self-confidence. 

“We all need a basic amount of money to get by, no matter how old we are. The bus to work costs the same, whether you’re 24 or 26. Gas and electricity costs the same, regardless of age. Rent doesn’t cost any less in your early 20s. 

“Much more needs to be done to improve young people’s prospects and give them hope for the future. This means significantly increasing the apprentice minimum wage and changing the law to ensure under-25s are entitled to the same National Living Wage as everyone else. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.” 

Nia (26, Cardiff) worked in a café and was paid a lower minimum wage because she was under-25: 

“It was exactly the same job and exactly the same number of hours as the older people I worked with, but at the end of the day I was taking home less money. 

“Paying under-25s less doesn’t make a huge amount of sense. Your outgoings don’t suddenly increase on your 25th birthday and I didn’t gain a lot more experience overnight! We should be paid the same for the same work because we are worth the same.” 


Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 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.
  2. The House of Commons adjournment debate, ‘Exclusion of under-25s from the national living wage’, was tabled by David Linden MP (SNP) and is taking place on 3 May 2018.
  3. Young Women’s Trust released a report in October 2017, ‘Paid Less, Worth Less?’, making the case for extending the National Living Wage to under-25s.
  4. The Office for National Statistics’ ‘Distribution of low paid jobs by 10p bands’ data (October 2017) shows that more than a million people under the age of 25 are paid less than the National Living Wage. 558,000 of these – or just over half – are women.
  5. 16 and 17 year-olds can be paid as little as £4.20 an hour – less than the average bus ticket. 18-20 year-olds can be paid £5.90 and 21-24 year-olds £7.38. Apprentices can legally get as little as £3.70 an hour.
  6. According to the GMB trade union, since the recession peak in 2009, the wages of young workers have fallen by 25%, with young people under 25 now being paid on average 42% less than other workers.

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