In the 10 years since its introduction, the national minimum wage has gained wide acceptance among employers, according to the latest IRS research on views of the national minimum wage (subscription required). Nine out of 10 of our survey respondents support the current adult rate of £5.73 an hour, with many of the opinion that workers under the age of 22 should be paid at the same rate as adults.
However, almost seven in 10 respondents agree that there is pressure to pay staff above the minimum wage to avoid being seen as a "minimum wage employer".
The most commonly reported effect of the uprating of the minimum wage from 1 October 2008 was reduced pay differentials in the organisation, identified as an issue by just under one in five respondents (18.5%). One-third of respondents say they tend to agree, or strongly agree, that other staff see the minimum wage increase as a benchmark for their own pay rises.
Looking ahead, our respondents suggest a median figure for the adult minimum wage of £6 an hour from 1 October 2009. The Low Pay Commission has asked for more time before making its recommendations on the new rates to the Government. As the minimum wage faces its first recession, the Low Pay Commission will be keen to ensure that the rates it recommends are affordable for businesses and therefore continue to enjoy employer support.