YOUNG workers are losing up to £6,300 a year because they are not entitled to the national living wage, according to a new study.
Data compiled by the Young Women’s Trust indicates more than a million under 25s, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet, are getting as much as £3.45 less per hour than their older counterparts.
The rates of pay are random, the study claims, and the work in question no less demanding than that carried out by older workers.
Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said under 25s are increasingly falling into debt, using foodbanks in greater numbers and lacking in confidence about the future.
She said: ‘It’s no surprise when they are paid less for the same work.
‘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 giving them the right skills and support to find jobs, ensuring decent and flexible jobs are available, 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.’
A survey of 4,000 young people found that the two most popular policies were increasing the minimum wage for apprentices and extending the living wage to under 25s.
The living wage is £7.50 an hour, but 16 and 17-year-olds were being paid £4.05 for doing the same job, said the report.
A government spokesman said: ‘Minimum wage rates increased on 1 April, giving workers aged 24 and below their second pay rise in just six months.
‘UK employment rates are at a record high and our priority is to help young workers secure work and gain experience and that is reflected in the minimum wage rate structure.’