A report by the government’s Education Select Committee has recommended that above-inflation rises to the National Minimum Wage rates for apprentices should continue, with a longer-term goal of scrapping them altogether. This would mean apprentices would be paid at their age-related rate, not the apprenticeship rate.
NHF chief executive Hilary Hall said, “Decisions on minimum wages sit with the independent Low Pay Commission, rather than with the government, but there is no doubt that there will be increasing pressure to raise apprentice wages.” Hilary warned that if the apprenticeship rate was scrapped altogether, apprentices would become unaffordable, while the competition for qualified and experienced barbers and hairdressers would further intensify, when businesses already struggle to recruit good staff.
The report also called for many more prosecutions and bigger fines for underpaying employers and mentions that underpayment of Minimum Wage was routine within the hairdressing industry. The NHF now expects the industry to be deliberately targeted for HMRC investigations.
Hilary added, ” It’s not enough to think you know how to apply the National Minimum Wage – check, check and check again. Employers get into trouble about the time staff actually start work, payment for training time (e.g. model nights), deductions for uniforms and equipment, and failing to pay apprentices aged 19 or over the age-related rate in the second year of their apprenticeship.”
For more resources and a free helpline visit www.nhf.info