National minimum wage enjoys broad support

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.

When asked about their experience of the national minimum wage, morethan four in 10 respondents say that it has had no effect on theirorganisation, while almost one-third say their experience has beenquite, or very, positive.

However, almost seven in 10 respondents agree that there is pressure topay staff above the minimum wage to avoid being seen as a “minimum wageemployer”.

The most commonly reported effect of the uprating of the minimum wagefrom 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 stronglyagree, that other staff see the minimum wage increase as a benchmarkfor their own pay rises.

Looking ahead, our respondents suggest a median figure for the adultminimum wage of £6 an hour from 1 October 2009. The Low Pay Commissionhas asked for more time before making its recommendations on the newratesto the Government. As the minimum wage faces its first recession, theLow Pay Commission will be keen to ensure that the rates it recommendsare affordable for businesses and therefore continue to enjoy employersupport.

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