The new National Living Wage (NLW) of £7.20 per hour for employees over the age of 25 comes in to force in April 2016. Employers are not bound to provide younger workers with the same rate of pay under this legislation, but a number of retailers are doing so anyway. However, 23 out of 40 retailers asked the question said they would not commit to pay parity for younger workers. Household names like WH Smith, Halfords, Next and Poundland are proposing to pay older workers more, simply because they are older. Age discrimination may be carved out by the NLW legislation, but it is difficult to see how it is anything other than discriminatory, albeit that it is allowed by law. That just does not seem fair.
A huge gulf is opening up over pay between some of the UK’s most profitable retailers ahead of the Government’s introduction of the so-called national living wage (NLW). The new rules, due to come into force next April, mean staff over 25 years old will earn a minimum of £7.20 an hour, rising to £9 by 2020. Some retailers have promised to pay staff the same regardless of age; however, a large number are either refusing or have not made up their minds, with just over four months to go. The Independent asked 40 retailers whether a new starter under 25 would earn £7.20 an hour or more from April next year. Next, WH Smith, Halfords and Poundland all said they would not offer pay parity, despite earning combined pre-tax profits of £873.4m.