Jo backs minimum wage boost for young workers

Jo attacked the current minimum wage system for discriminating against younger workers

Jo Swinson has called for the extending of higher minimum wage rates for young workers.

Speaking at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton, Jo outlined her opposition to the Government’s current policy of setting different minimum wage rates for 16-17 year olds, 18-21 year olds and over 22s. Speaking to conference delegates, she said:

“To earn the same money that a 22-year-old would earn in an eight-hour working day, a 17-year-old would have to work for 13 hours – 5 hours more every day. This is completely at odds with the concept of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

Commenting after the debate, Jo said:

“The minimum wage is unquestionably a good thing, but the way it is currently operated in this country, with younger workers receiving lower rates of pay, is discriminatory.

“People should be judged and paid on their merits, not their age.

“ASDA has set a precedent by rejecting different pay rates for different age groups. This is very welcome, but we can’t rely on all employers to take positive action themselves. The minimum wage must be there to protect workers of all ages.”

Current minimum wage rates are:

Adult rate (22 and over) £5.35 per hour

18-21 year olds £4.45 per hour

16-17 year olds £3.30 per hour

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