“It’s like there’s a river between school and work and there’s no bridge across it”

25 July 2018

The title reflects the profound analysis of one young person in one of the evidence-gathering visits by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) when discussing the barriers to entering employment.

Access to work and access to workersis one of the recently published National Minimum Wage blogs where Simon Sapper’s reflects on his first visit as a new Commissioner.

According to the blog, small business representatives told the LPC how things had changed dramatically in the local economy over the past two years. Other EU nationals had disappeared. Job ads that used to yield 60 or 70 responses now produced one or two candidates.

Firms have apparently started to offer non-pay incentives – from gym membership to flexitime – to make themselves more attractive. In-work encouragement for training and promotion was appreciated by workers at a local manufacturer.

The real cost – both in money and time – of travel to and from work (in care and other peripatetic industries) was spelt out. One youth worker asked: Why do they pay young people less when their cost of living is often more?

The Taylor premium proposal was discussed (the idea of a higher minimum wage for hours which are not guaranteed)? One small business owner told the LPC:

“We can either take a hit on guaranteeing more time than people work or paying more for the unexpectedly extra hours worked. It’s a risk either way”.

The new Commissioner Simon Sapper said:

“You can look at all the research papers and table of stats you like, but there is something distinctive about sitting down and talking directly to people affected by what the Commission does.

Given that this is a key part of gathering the evidence on which we make our recommendations to government, these visits to various parts of the UK to do just that – meet and talk to people affected by the National Living Wage and the other minimum pay rates.

This year we also need to talk to people about the youth rates and Matthew Taylor’s idea of a higher minimum wage for non-guaranteed hours.

The visit I was on is just one of several that we will be undertaking over the year. Full details are here."

CIPP comment

The CIPP policy team is hosting a policy Think Tank roundtable on 9 August which provides some full, fellow and chartered members the opportunity to meet with the Low Pay Commissioner to discuss experiences relating to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

Included will be a detailed discussion about the Taylor Report’s proposal of a premium element for non-guaranteed work and where the current thinking is on this idea.