National living wage

2nd Oct 2012

From Monday 1st October 2012, the national minimum wage rates had their annual review.

Not much changed this year:

  • Workers aged 21 and over will now receive a minimum of £6.19 per hour, an increase from £6.08.
  • Those in the 16-17 and the 18-20 age range had their rates frozen at £3.68 and £4.98 respectively.
  • Good news for apprentices, regardless of their age (as we know that apprentices aren’t just for young people) rates increased to £2.65, a whopping 5p increase.

As we have said in our newsletter ‘People Matter’ the minimum wage for an apprentice is verging on slave labour. These days, whilst apprentices get the benefit of on the job training and learning, many do the same or very similar work to fully paid, permanent employees.

Something that is rarely openly discussed, but often thought about is a national ‘living’ wage. We’ve all seen milk and bread prices soar whilst wages remain pretty stagnant. The Living Wage Foundation in London independently sets a ‘living wage’ for workers to be able to live and work free from poverty. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation which also campaigns for a fair minimum income released its 2012 report  earlier this year. It stated that a single person in the UK needs to earn at least £16,400 a year before tax to afford a minimum acceptable standard of living and two parents need to earn at least £18,400 each to support themselves and two children. Now you may be thinking ‘what constitutes a minimum acceptable standard of living?’ The foundation covers this in an annual review, which apparently hasn’t altered much since the original study in 2008.

So what do you think about a national living wage? Could a living wage rather than a minimum wage see a decrease in absenteeism and reduced turnover? Leave a comment or contact us.

Sue Tumelty, Managing Director of The HR Dept
The author of this blog is Sue Tumelty, the Founder and Executive Director of national company The HR Dept. The HR Dept prides itself on providing local and personal HR support to small and medium size businesses. Find your local office here.

Comments

Every one should be on a living wage. With the cutbacks with the governments Welfare Reform how are people going to have a roof over their heads and put food on the table.

All very well to be told what I need to live on..so its £16,500 ..but nothing about my needs, who I am, am I disabled,am I living in the country? north, south, am I old young..Its all about pidgeon holing us. I agreed that cutbacks need to be made but I disagree that we should need to rely on 'the state' for a handout. If I decide I want 5 kids and a good standard of living then I need to provide for it myself, I need to be responsible. The government could provide for emergencies, like illness and loss of job, but not for ever...we are all born equal, but thank goodness we all choose our own paths in life...we ought to be responsible for taking those paths.

The apprentice rate is shocking - who could actually afford to live on £2.65ph? Whilst I can see the benefits of the Living Wage will the employer be expected to foot the bill?

That is all they need to do, none of this rubbish about a living wage! Just be fair to your fellow beings, pay them what they are worth and cap the fat cat salary when they aren't playing fair with the working class.

state pension far less than the national minimum wage

I live in the South East. My wife has nothing except the state pension. I have pensions that (with the state pension) amount to the "living wage" for the two of us. I run a necessary but ancient car. I find that I am dipping into savings each month even after cutting back on almost all hobbies and pastimes, heating etc.. With inflation threatening, it is worrying. Even if I wanted to work at 75 years old, I could not. HELP!

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