Business Secretary Vince Cable has outlined proposals to simplify and boost the national minimum wage for apprentices.
Cable’s proposals will give over 30,000 apprentices a pay rise of more than £1 an hour, rising from £2.73 to £3.79.
Speaking at the Lib Dem party conference, Cable said that the new policy, which he will shortly present to the Low Pay Commission (LPC), will create a single national minimum wage rate for 16 to 17 year olds in employment and for all apprentices in the first year of their programme.
It will also make it easier for employers to understand and comply with minimum wage law, streamlining the number of minimum wage rates they have to contend with down from four to three.
“This year we have made the first above inflation rise in the minimum wage since the recession. With the economy on the road to recovery, all workers - including apprentices - should be able to share in the proceeds of growth,” says Cable. “We want apprenticeships to remain an attractive option for young people deciding whether to earn whilst they learn or go straight into employment.
“This is why I propose putting apprentices on a level playing field with young people entering the labour market. Applied to current minimum wage rates, this would be an increase on first year pay of over a third, as well as simplifying a pay structure that all too often catches employers out.”