Minimum wage plans gain general approval

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But there is some support for introducing a special ‘youth rate’ to encourage employers to take on more 16-18 year olds, in the light of recent unemployment.

s reported earlier, the Employment Forum commissioned by the Employment and Social Security Committee are recommending a minimum wage of £5.

8 an hour, to be introduced no earlier than April 2005.

he basic rate will be offset by £74.

0 per week for accommodation and food, or £55.

5 for accommodation alone, where this is provided by the employer.

ob Hassell, president of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said most Chamber members felt they could cope with it.

‘It is ahead of the UK, but they knew it was coming,’ he said.

‘Undoubtedly some will be affected, mainly the smaller traders.

But on moral grounds there can be no debate against a minimum wage.

Both the Jersey Hospitality Association and the Tourism Board – one of the key industries affected – are supporting the recommendations as a ‘balanced and objective’ package.

HA chief executive Gerald Fletcher said: ‘The Forum has carried out its remit in a very prudent and structured manner, but there is now a concern from industry that their sound advice and carefully balanced recommendations should not be derailed by emotive ideas from some politicians.

Mr Fletcher said that in the past there had been some ad hoc comments from States Members calling for a significantly higher minimum wage, but which had no basis in fact.

‘Let’s be structured and businesslike about this,’ he said.

The JHA has already warned that an unrealistic level would further erode tourism’s competitive potential and its position in the marketplace.

A minimum wage will not guarantee employment, nor stop further job losses, and at a time when deregulation is being called for it is vital that this new law does not require more public sector employees to administer it.

The hospitality sector is, however, supporting the proposal for a youth rate.

This had been shelved until recently, but the changing job situation locally has made it difficult for school leavers to find jobs.

r Fletcher said: ‘We do not want to see a situation prevailing whereby employers are discouraged from employing younger people as a result of having to pay them the minimum wage.

The Employment and Social Security Committee would like views on this subject, to be sent to the department by 29 February.


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