Living wage 2022: what is it and when will it increase?

As the UK economy is in dire straits with inflation soaring to 10.1% pushing up the price of consumer goods as wages stagnate and a winter of sky-high energy bills we waits, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for the minimum wage to be raised “as soon as possible”.

“Every worker should be able to afford a decent standard of living,” said Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC.

“But millions of low-paid workers are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to get by – and they are now being pushed to the brink by sky-high bills and soaring prices.”

The current national minimum wage in the UK is £9.50 per hour for workers aged 23 and over, £9.18 for those aged 22-21, £6.83 for those aged 20-18 and £4.81 for under 18s and apprentices.

These rates took effect on April 1 this year, the same date they are adjusted each year, and represented a 6.6% increase in the top rate from £8.91 the previous year .

People aged 22 and under receiving the lowest rates received increases of 83p, 27p and 19p, which then Chancellor Rishi Sunak said was ‘broadly in line’ with previous increases in an announcement of last October.

The government now says it is trying to strike a balance and warns that raising the minimum wage too big or too quickly risks causing mass unemployment if businesses are unable to meet wages.

But the TUC insists workers must get their “fair share” at a time when companies are paying higher dividends to shareholders.

“We’ve had promises from the government time and time again, that we should have a high-wage economy,” Ms O’Grady told BBC Radio 4. Today program.

“It should start with low-wage workers who are absolutely terrified of what these hikes in energy bills will mean for their budgets, having to shell out for school uniforms and putting food on the table.”

She argued that higher-earning citizens were less likely to have to claim benefits from the state and more likely to pay taxes and contribute to the economy as consumers.

She also criticized the fact that the minimum wage is lower for younger earners, adding: “It is clear to me, and I think to many people, that people should be paid at the labor rate, regardless of their age.

“If they work so hard for the same job, why should they be discriminated against just because they are under 23? »

The UK national minimum wage is set in response to the median wage, an average calculated by adding up each wage in the UK and identifying the midpoint.

The current target is for the minimum wage to reach 66% of the median wage by 2024, an approach which is expected to raise the rate again to £10.50 from April 1, 2023.

However, the TUC wants the average for all workers to reach £20 an hour, with the minimum wage rising to 75% of that amount, or £15 an hour, which is nowhere near the case.

Michael A. Bynum