Search
The Caterer

Stick to paying young people minimum wage to avoid legal action

24 August 2007
Stick to paying young people minimum wage to avoid legal action

Hospitality businesses which take on young people over the summer may face legal action if they pay them more than the national minimum wage, lawyers have warned.

Employers are entitled to pay workers under 22 less than other staff without having to justify their decision, however, only if those younger workers are compensated less than the "adult" national minimum wage rate of £5.35.

Those employers that paid students and holiday workers more than the adult minimum wage rate, but less than older workers, could be charged with unlawful age discrimination, said law firm Wedlake Bell.

David Israel, employment partner at Wedlake Bell, said the issue of age discrimination laws applied particularly to hotels, bars, restaurants and retailers, which generally employ students and young people.

"Unfortunately, employers may well be discouraged from being generous to their staff because of these quirks in the age discrimination rules," he said.

"If they fear they could be caught out by paying above the national minimum wage, even if they may be able to subsequently justify their actions, they may decide just to stick to the minimum wage simply to avoid any risk whatsoever."

A recent study, commissioned by the British Retail Consortium and compiled by Oxford University, found that 96% of workers in the hospitality industry earned minimum wage.

Calls for younger workers minimum wage to increase to adult rate >>

Hospitality backs tougher stance on minimum wage >>

No more age of innocence >>

By Owen Hill

E-mail your comments to Owen Hill](mailto:daniel.thomas@rbi.co.uk?subject=Stick to paying young people minimum wage to avoid legal action) here.

[The Caterer Blog](http://www.caterersearch.com/blogs/catering-news-blog/) Catch up with more news and gossip on the Caterer Blog here
[Newswire For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail news alerts.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.