Today sees a change in law that will affect many people in the UK. Employers will now be forced to pay employees, aged 25 and over, no less than £7.20 per hour. I have been watching the various news channels present this story over the last 24 hours. What has become evident to me, through watching numerous employers being interviewed, is the rather despicable grudging nature of the response of many employers, to this change.
I find it scandalous that, in the UK in 2016, anybody aged 25 and over was still being paid less than £7.20 per hour. How can anybody be expected to provide for their lives on such a demeaning wage? Yet, they have been.
I was further appalled at the responses of the many employers interviewed who stated responses including:
- We will now seek to replace employees with automated systems.
- We will in future seek to only hire those under 25 years of age.
If your business is not viable, as in you cannot afford to pay people the new Living Wage; still the lowest scrapings of a salary, then you should close your business. I consider such low salaries, in the UK, as being tantamount to exploitation. I know many will disagree with me and will state that they cannot run an effective business without keeping their costs so very low, but I would simply question the viability of the business, if you can only pay an employee a rate that locks that employee into poverty; for that is the outcome.
The new National Living Wage is still a wage of poverty. It is the absolute bare minimum and has already been defined as being a few pounds short of what human beings in the UK need to earn per hour, to get by in life. My fear is that employers will now ‘proudly’ announce that they pay the National Living Wage when, in fact, it is the lowest scrapings of a payment that can be paid and it will still leave people in poverty. Paying the lowest possible salary is no cause for pride.
Come on employers – you can do better. Help your employees to better their lives and the lives of their children and we will start to see a change for the better within our society.