One in five young workers illegally underpaid

Thursday 27 December 2018

One in five young workers illegally underpaid, as charity calls for crackdown

YWT LOGOYoung Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, has found that one in five workers age 18 to 30 are illegally paid less than the national minimum wage.

In the charity’s survey of more than 4,000 young people, 20 per cent of young women and 16 per cent of young men said they had been paid less than they were legally entitled to. The figure increases to 25 per cent, or one in four, among young black people.

Young people in London were most likely to report being underpaid (24 per cent) and employers in the East Midlands came out best at 12 per cent.

As a result of low pay, many young people are facing financial crisis and falling into debt. Young Women’s Trust has found that four in ten young women say it is a “real struggle” to make their cash last to the end of the month and one in four say they are in debt “all of the time”.

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

“Paying young people less than the minimum wage is not just illegal – it is immoral.

“Low wages are leaving many unable to afford the basics. When the bus to work or an hour’s childcare cost more than an hour’s wages, it’s no wonder so many young workers are falling into debt and resorting to food banks.

“Young Women’s Trust is calling on the Government to crack down on employers who are not complying with the law. Alongside enforcing existing laws, ministers should also raise the minimum wage for young people by extending the National Living Wage to under-25s, who can currently be paid less for the same work.”

ENDS

Notes to editor:

1) Young Women’s Trust is a charity supporting women aged 16-30 on low or no pay. The charity provides direct services to help young women into work and runs campaigns.

2) Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to carry out its annual survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year-olds, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey found that:

a. 18 per cent of young people, or one in five, said they had been paid less than the legal minimum wage they were eligible for (20 per cent of young women and 16 per cent of young men);

b. 25 per cent of young people who defined as “black” said they had been paid less than the legal minimum wage they were eligible for;

c. young Londoners were the most likely to say they had been paid less than the minimum wage at 24 per cent and those in the East Midlands were the least likely at 12 per cent;

d. four in ten young women (40 per cent) said it is a “real struggle” to make their cash last to the end of the month, compared to 29 per cent of young men. This rises to 58 per cent of women aged 25 to 30; and

e. one in four young women (23 per cent) said they are in debt “all of the time”.

3) For more information, regional breakdowns or to speak to a young woman who is affected, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org.

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