One in five young workers 'illegally underpaid'

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Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, has found that one in five workers aged 18 to 30 are illegally paid less than the national minimum wage.

In the charity’s survey of more than 4,000 young people, 20 per cent of young women and 16 per cent of young men said they had been paid less than their legal entitlement. The figure increases to 25 per cent, or one in four, among young black people.

Young people in London were most likely to report being underpaid (24 per cent) and employers in the East Midlands came out best at 12 per cent.

As a result of low pay, many young people are facing financial crisis and falling into debt. Young Women’s Trust has found that four in ten young women say it is a “real struggle” to make their cash last to the end of the month and one in four say they are in debt “all of the time”.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said: “Paying young people less than the minimum wage is not just illegal – it is immoral.

“Low wages are leaving many unable to afford the basics. When the bus to work or an hour’s childcare cost more than an hour’s wages, it’s no wonder so many young workers are falling into debt and resorting to food banks.

“Young Women’s Trust is calling on the Government to crack down on employers who are not complying with the law. Alongside enforcing existing laws, ministers should also raise the minimum wage for young people by extending the National Living Wage to under-25s, who can currently be paid less for the same work.”

Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to carry out its annual survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year-olds were surveyed, with panel services provided by Populus Live.

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