New research shows that without the National Living Wage, over a million under 25s are being paid up to £3.45 less than over 25s for the same job.
The study, conducted by the Young Women’s Trust, means that under 25s are missing out on up to £6,300 per year. This is detrimental to the economic security of people coming out of university, and has proven to be largely unpopular.
A survey of 1000 people done by CV-Library showed that around 8 percent of respondents believed the living wage should also apply to workers under the age of 25.
The University of Manchester Living Wage Campaign have stated that “all workers should be guaranteed the Real Living Wage.”
They continued: “This ensures that it pays to be in work, and provides those on low pay with a decent quality of life. Not only is the current National Living Wage insufficient, but it unfairly discriminates against those under the age of 25 who face high living costs and are struggling to get ahead in life.”
Furthermore, the Young Women’s Trust Chief Executive commented that under 25s are “falling into debt, using food banks in greater numbers and their self-confidence is low. 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.”
In the past, doubts have been raised about applying the Living Wage to under-25s, for example Conservative cabinet minister Matthew Hancock argued under 25s shouldn’t have the living wage because they are “not as productive” as older workers.
However, now given the rise in inflation levels after the Brexit vote, and continued economic certainty as the EU negotiating process seem to be going little to nowhere, real wages are at risk, and a living wage may well be needed to fall back on for under 25s who are already struggling.