Minimum wage increase
Many people will be overjoyed to hear that as of April the minimum wage for those over the age of 25 is going up to £7.20 an hour. A move that is set to be a step towards the “living wage” that has been talked about so much. And while it means that more families will be better off not everyone is such a fan of the increase.
Obviously those paying the wages are gripping about how it will mean that they will have to put the cost of things up in order to meet the increased wage bill, and smaller companies are claiming that in some cases it will mean more layoffs as the finances begin to bit, but they are not the only ones who have something to say about it.
For instance did you know that it doesn’t count if you are self-employed? This means that hundreds of traders and workers, who are registered as self-employed in order to do their jobs, from freelance designers to plasterers, right the way through to Archaeologists. If you are self-employed but are contracted through an agency or company then the agency itself has no obligation to pay you the new minimum wage at all. You might think that as they are self-employed they can simply charge what they like, or give themselves a pay rise, but it doesn’t always work like that, and now hundreds of people will be working below the “living wage” with little they can do about it.
But they are not the only one. The question has been asked why do you have to be 25? And there seems to be no real answer for this, that doesn’t smack of stereotypes or an unrealistic view of the world we live in. I agree that the longer you have been in a job and the more skilled you are at it the more your time is worth, but that doesn’t always equate to age. For example, if a university leaver at the age of 22 takes a part-time job in a supermarket while awaiting their ideal job in their chosen field and starts at the same time as a 35-year-old man, both have no experience in the job, both have bills to pay but the 35 will be paid a whole 50p more an hour for the same job. This may seem like a small difference but it will soon add up at the end of the month in their pay packets.
The argument is that the over 24 have more financial responsibility possible with young families. But that then seems to pigeon hole people into groups that the government think people should be doing at a certain age. So while a young mom or dad who has financial responsibilities for a family at the age of 23 are left working just as hard but only getting the minimum wage, a 30-year-old who is footloose and fancy-free will be paid more for exactly the same job just because they are older.
There is no doubt that the living wage is a step in the right direction, but at the end of the day we all work in order to earn the money needed to pay bills, eat and maybe if were very lucky have a little fun. These things are universal so why isn’t the amount were paid?