After receiving support at the Labour Party conference as part of a "new bargain for working people," increasing the national minimum wage to £15 has been thrust into the public eye.
This comes after Andy McDonald, the shadow minister for employment rights, resigned from his position in the shadow cabinet, saying that he was told to fight against a national minimum wage of £15 an hour and compulsory sick pay at the living wage.
There has been a vigorous push to increase the national minimum wage to a national living wage of £9.50 per hour, or £10, but some people are claiming that an increase to £15 is required to keep up with the expenses of living. This would bring the minimum salary in line with inflation.
The national living wage, which is the legal minimum for workers aged 23 and over, is now set at £8.91 per hour. On the other hand, the national minimum wage, which applies to workers aged 21 or 22, is currently set at £8.36 per hour. Those workers under the age of 18 are paid £4.62 an hour, while those workers aged 18 to 20 get a minimum wage of £6.56.
The government did appear to concede in a recent statement that banned the withholding of tips from workers that the minimum wage alone is not enough to survive on. The statement banned the practice of withholding tips from employees.
So, who is pushing for a minimum salary of fifteen pounds, why are they doing it, and will it truly be effective?
Who is advocating for a minimum salary of fifteen pounds?
A composite motion that will be addressed at the Labour Party Conference was proposed by the union Unite. This motion, together with other resolutions such as prohibiting the practice of firing and rehiring, advocates for a raise in the minimum wage to £15 per hour. On Tuesday afternoon, it was approved with no dissenting votes.
In addition to demanding greater union rights, more taxes "on the very wealthy," an end to zero-hour contracts, and a "better work-life balance," the expansive motion called for an end to zero-hour contracts.
The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union put forth the piece of the resolution that proposes a minimum wage of £15; the section was later accepted by the grassroots organisation Momentum as one of their eight recommendations for the September conference.
A minimum wage of £15 per hour is something the party "should be supporting and pushing for," according to Jeremy Corbyn, the party's former leader, who gave an interview to the BBC.
Why is it that they are advocating for a minimum salary of £15?
According to the grassroots labor movement Momentum, which is supporting the motion to raise the minimum wage to £15 per hour, doing so would pull a significant number of working people out of poverty, relieve the burden of providing financial support for welfare recipients on taxpayers, and foster an environment in which small businesses could thrive.
According to statements made by MP McDonald on PoliticsJoe, "We've got to be more aggressive in our approach toward the national minimum wage."
In 2014 and 2015, we were discussing ten pounds per hour as a potential rate of gain. The world has changed, prices are going up, and we can see the strains that are being placed on working people on a daily basis.
The GMB labor union has led a movement to raise the minimum wage for care workers in the United Kingdom to £15 per hour in order to promote both safe staffing and high workforce uptake. The union also contends that an increase in their income might further inspire care employees who face the prospect of being vaccinated against coronavirus, or else losing their job, as a result of the required vaccination policy that was implemented for care home workers.
"We've been saying all along that the greatest approach to tackle vaccination hesitancy among the workforce is by appropriately valuing and giving employees a wage that better represents the vital job they perform. This has been our stance the whole time," "No less than £15 per hour," said Kelly Andrews, who is the national care lead for the GMB.
What would a wage of £15 per hour amount to over the course of a year?
If an employee worked 40 hours per week and earned £15 per hour, their annual pay would be £31,200 before taxes or any other deductions were taken into account.
According to figures compiled by the ONS for the fiscal year 2019/2020, the median annual salary for full-time workers was determined to be £31,46. This figure represents a decrease of around £200 in comparison to that figure. The research states that "annual wage projections are mainly unaffected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic," despite the fact that the year 2020 was a challenging one for many different types of work.
Is it possible to sustain an economy with a minimum salary of £15 per hour?
Many people have questioned whether or not a minimum wage of £15 would truly be feasible in the United Kingdom, given that more than half of the overall workforce earns less than £15 per hour.
In the year 2020, the hourly wages that were considered to be the median for all workers was £13.68. Therefore, not only would workers in occupations like cleaning, waiting tables, and retail who have been paid the minimum wage for a significant amount of time earn a major pay raise, but so would a large number of workers in professions that need a graduate level education.
When earnings are broken down into hourly pay, the average salary for crew members working in ambulances (other than paramedics) is £12.33. Both legal secretaries and financial officers make an average hourly wage of £10.75, with the latter earning £12.90.
The typical income for a teaching assistant is £18,904, which works out to roughly £8.61 per hour. This is 30 pence less than the federal minimum wage for anyone over the age of 23.
Alan Manning, a professor of economics at the London School of Economics, notes that there are two primary difficulties about the rising of the minimum wage to such amounts.
First of all, he said that if firms are unable to pay salaries at the level that is required by the government, then they will be forced to employ less personnel, which would either lead to layoffs or a stop in the recruiting of new employees.
Second, according to Manning, it may have an effect on the motives people have to choose occupations that involve greater levels of training, expertise, or stress.
"Even though they've been in school for three years, a lot of nurses probably don't make as much as fifteen pounds an hour. Why would someone want to learn to be a nurse if you suddenly state that any profession pays £15 an hour? Manning, as he pointed out.
"It's hazardous in the sense that just because it sounds nice, it doesn't always imply that it's going to be good in practice," she said. "Just because it sounds good doesn't mean that it's going to be good in practice."
However, according to Manning, people who advocate for a minimum salary of £15 "are not talking about the minimum wage today, they're talking about hopes for the future."
"I would attempt ten pounds an hour, take a look at what happens then, and if it's all alright, you can push it a little more, you know, a more progressive approach up to fifteen pounds" "I would try ten pounds an hour, have a look at what happens then, and if it's all okay, you can push it a bit more, you know
When could we see the implementation of a minimum wage of £15?
Since Labour would not be in a position to make changes to the national living wage until after the next general election, which is scheduled for May 2 of 2024, this would be the point at which a minimum wage of £15 could, in theory, be on the cards. The next general election is scheduled for May 2 of 2024.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the Shadow Home Secretary, said that "We will make an evaluation of that, which I believe is the proper thing to do, closer to the general election."
Before the next general election, Labour has said that it is open to "make an evaluation" about the practicability of a minimum wage of £15 per hour.
According to The Resolution Foundation, the national wage will ultimately reach £15, but increasing it immediately and permanently is not "an economically sustainable strategy in the short-to-medium term."
If the national minimum wage were to climb at the rate of 4% per year, which is a rate of increase that is considered to be reasonably average for the minimum wage, it would reach £15 per hour by the middle of the 2030s.
According to a statement that was sent by a spokeswoman to The Big Issue, "We're basically stating that £15 is unviable in the short-term, and inevitable in the long-term."