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Forum says ‘no’ to minimum wage rise next month

Forum says ‘no’ to minimum wage rise next month

Thursday 08 September 2022

Forum says ‘no’ to minimum wage rise next month

Thursday 08 September 2022

The body responsible for making recommendations for the island’s minimum wage is not backing a rise to £10 from next month in a move that has sparked frustrations among Living Wage campaigners.

Instead, the Employment Forum is urging Government to move to £10.10 in January 2023.

It is also recommending that trainee year one and two rates are scrapped to bring all working islanders above school-age onto a single rate.

Jersey's minimum wage is currently £9.22 per hour, while the Living Wage is set at £11.27.

Shortly after June's election, Reform Jersey's Deputy Sam Mézec put forward a proposal to increase the minimum wage to £10 per hour from October.

As part of their 'mini budget' proposals to help islanders deal with significant rises in the cost of living, the Council of Ministers tasked the Forum with looking into it.

However, in a report accompanying their latest recommendations, the Forum said there was "little support" for an interim rise.

"The Forum is concerned that the steps needed to be taken to implement an interim increase to £10 an hour in October – with a further recommended increase to £10.10 in January 2023 - place a significant administrative burden on businesses to accomplish two increases in such a short space of time," the report read.

Chair of the Employment Forum Carla Benest said: “I’m pleased that the Forum has been able to make these recommendations to the Minister for Social Security. We’re extremely grateful for the engagement with employees and employers and business and trade union organisations, in all sectors of the economy. We recognise that these are still challenging times for businesses and employees, and the Forum has endeavoured to reflect that in our recommendations.”

Caritas, which administers the Living Wage, said it was "very disappointed" by the recommendations of the Forum, which it described as "employer-focused", but challenged the Government to "pass its first big test and stick to their plan".

Jennifer Bridge, who leads the Living Wage campaign, tweeted: "The Living Wage is a figure established to be the absolute minimum a worker needs to survive.

"Anything lower is a poverty wage.

"The Employment Forum have fulfilled their remit but their remit is not to establish the minimum the worker needs."

Reacting, Deputy Elaine Millar, Social Security Minister said: "I have received the report from The Employment Forum and I am considering its recommendations. It would be premature to comment further at this stage until I have been able to fully review its findings. Once I have reviewed the report, I will be happy to provide further comments."

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