Charity protests widening age pay gap in new campaign

Monday 12 November 2018

YWT logoYoung Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, has launched a new campaign to pay young people the same minimum wage as everyone else in response to the Government’s Budget last month.  

The Government announced an increase in the National Living Wage in the latest Budget but only workers age 25 and over will be eligible for it. The new rate, from next April, will be £8.21 an hour – up from £7.83. Under-25s, however, will only be eligible for the minimum wage of £7.70, or £6.15 if they are 18-20. This will mean 24 year-olds can legally earn £90 less a month than 25 year-olds for the same role – or more than a thousand pounds a year.  

The new pay rates will see a widening of the gap between the National Living Wage and the youth minimum wages. Previously, the minimum wage for those aged 25 and over was 45p more than that for 21-24 year-olds and £1.93 more than 18-20 year-olds. When the changes are brought in this April, 25 year-olds on the minimum wage will be earning 51p more an hour than 24 year-olds in minimum wage work, and £2.06p more than 18-20 year-olds – widening the pay disparity.  

Young Women’s Trust has launched the ‘Paid Less, Not Worth Less’ campaign and has produced a series of animations calling for the Government’s National Living Wage to be extended to workers under the age of 25.   

The animations highlight the real-life impact of younger workers being paid less than their older counterparts, often for the same work. Nia, now 26, was paid less than her colleagues while working in a London café. She couldn’t afford rent and ended up moving back home with her parents in Cardiff. Mattea, 20 from Liverpool, worked in a call centre. She took the same calls as everyone else but felt embarrassed to be paid less and unable to afford the basics.  

The charity’s campaign also highlights the pay disparity that apprentices face. The apprentice minimum wage is £3.70 – rising to £3.90 next year. Two in five apprentices have told Young Women’s Trust that it costs them more to do their work than they earn. One of the newly launched animations tells the story of Cilla (name changed), who left care at 17 and was expected to live independently on an apprentice minimum wage of just over £3. She struggled to pay bills and feared being made homeless.  

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:  

“Young people are being paid less for the same work and are increasingly struggling to make ends meet. For young women, breaking out of low pay can be especially hard.  

“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 25. Gas and electricity costs the same. Rent doesn’t cost any less in your early 20s.   

“Politicians should support young people seeking to be financially independent by 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.” 

The charity’s research shows that extending the National Living Wage to under-25s is supported by young people, baby boomers and businesses alike. Young people will be sharing their experiences on social media under the hashtag #NotWorthLess.  


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 National Living Wage is the legal minimum for those aged 25 and over and is £7.83 an hour, rising to £8.21 in April 2019. Workers under the age of 25 are not entitled to this wage. 
  3. Young Women’s Trust today launched a series of animations making the case for extending the National Living Wage to under-25s as part of a wider cmapaign. More information on how to get involved in the campaign can be found at
  4. The minimum wage for 21-24 year-olds is £7.38 an hour, rising to £7.70 in April. For 18-20 year-olds it is £5.90 an hour and next year will be £6.15. Based on the rates coming in in April 2019 and a 40 hour working week, this amounts to a loss of £88.10 a month or £1,060.80 a year for 21-24 year-olds on the minimum wage because they are not eligible for the National Living Wage (see table). 


Hourly minimum wage 

Daily minimum wage (eight hour day) 

Weekly minimum wage (40 hour week) 

Monthly minimum wage (annual wage divided by 12) 

Annual minimum wage (52 weeks of working 40 hours) 

How much they miss out on each year by not earning the National Living Wage 




































  1. 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.  
  2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned ComRes to interview 500 current or recent apprentices in Great Britain online between 26th July and 11th August 2017. Data were weighted by age and gender. The survey found that 43 per cent, or two in five, said the costs associated with doing an apprenticeship such as travel to work, buying clothing or paying for childcare, were higher than their earnings as an apprentice. 
  3. Holly Lynch MP sponsored a Private Member’s Bill to extend the National Living Wage to workers aged 18 and above. The Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 19 July 2017 and is due to have its second reading on Friday 6 July 2018. 
  4. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to conduct a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year olds and 1,115 54-72 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey found that, out of a range of options, the two most popular policies were raising the apprentice minimum wage (supported by 83 per cent) and introducing equal pay for equal work by extending the National Living Wage to under-25s (supported by 80 per cent). This compares to the 59 per cent that support abolishing university tuition fees. 
  5. Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to carry out a poll of those making employment decisions in 2018. The total sample size was 816 senior HR professionals / people managers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th April - 7th May 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the UK business population by size, sector and region. The survey shows that four in five employers (79 per cent) said that young people should be paid the same as older people for the same work. This includes 77 per cent of small- and medium-sized organisations. 
  6. For more information, for animations or to speak to a case study, please contact Bex Bailey on or 07963018281.