Business secretary Vince Cable has said he would up the current National Minimum Wage for 16-17 years by more than 1 an hour, from 2.73 to 3.79. This is the first rise in the National Minimum Wage since the recession began. “With the economy on the road to recovery, all workers, including apprentices, should be able to share in the proceeds of growth,” Cable said. “We want apprenticeships to remain an attractive option for young people deciding whether to earn whilst they learn or go straight into employment. This is why I propose putting apprentices on a level playing field with young people entering the labour market. Applied to current minimum wage rates, this would be an increase on first year pay of over a third, as well as simplifying a pay structure that all too often catches employers out. The policy will be presented to the Low Pay Commission over the next few weeks and will include new compliance measures, which should make it easier for employers to sustain apprentices by cutting down the regulatory hassle.
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