Children’s charities have broadly welcomed government
plans to extend the minimum wage to 16 and 17-year olds. From
October young workers will be entitled to at least £3 per
NCH policy officer George McNamara said young people needed
proper protection from the exploitation of unscrupulous
“This brings long-awaited fairness into the workplace and
will be applauded by teenagers up and down the country,” he
Barnardo’s enthusiasm for the principle of a minimum wage
was tempered by concerns about the amount which it condemned as
Neera Sharma, Barnardo’s policy officer, said:
“while it may be enough for supported young people working
part time and living at home with their parents, it will not lift
many young people who have to work full time above poverty
Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt made the announcement following
advice from the Low Pay Commission which found some young workers
received little or no training and exploitative rates of pay.
Hewitt said encouraging youngsters to stay in full-time
education or training was a priority for the government but
“where young people choose to work without training we have a
clear duty to protect them from exploitative rates of
NCH said tough enforcement of the minimum wage would be
essential if it is to make a real difference to working 16 and 17
“NCH will be calling on the government to step up its
campaign against employers who continue to flout the law and pay
workers below the minimum wage,” said McNamara.
Trade Union representatives also welcomed the move. Brendan
Barber, TUC general secretary said the unions’ campaign for a
minimum hourly rate for young people was going to pay-off for
50,000 low paid teenagers.
Also in October the adult minimum wage will rise to £4.85
and the rate for 18 to 21 year olds will rise to £4.10.