AAT members: Government should increase minimum wage

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Tuesday 11 July 2017 - 11:30
  • 70% believe Living Wage Foundation minimum pay levels should be adopted
  • 70% say the current minimum apprenticeship wage should be increased
  • Half of AAT members call on Government to scrap the five different minimum wage rates

The AAT Minimum Wage Survey 2017, a new survey undertaken by AAT, has indicated that AAT members believe the Government should increase the minimum wage, scrap the five different wage rates and review naming and shaming practices for those who fail to comply with minimum wage requirements.

National Minimum Wage legislation affects many of AAT’s 140,000 members. This is the case whether members are students, apprentices, small business owners or licensed accountants, or where they are employed by national and multinational companies. 

Increase minimum wage

A clear majority of AAT members (70%) believe the Government should adopt the National Living Wage Foundation’s minimum pay levels of £8.45 an hour for the UK as a whole, rising to £9.75 an hour in London.

Just 22% of AAT members do not support this proposal and 7% are unsure.

These findings mirror a recommendation from the Social Mobility Commission, which last week called on the Government to make the UK the country with the lowest level of low pay in the OECD by 2030.

AAT has recently gained Living Wage Foundation accreditation, which helps to demonstrate to staff, customers, suppliers and stakeholders that it is a responsible business.

Scrap different rates

Half (50%) of AAT members would like to see the five different rates of the minimum wage (under 18; 18-20; 21-24; 25 and over; apprenticeship) replaced with a single, one-size fits all minimum wage.

However, 40% of AAT members do not support this simplification measure and 10% are uncertain at this time.

Apprenticeship wage

Most respondents to the survey (70%) would like to see an increase in the current minimum apprenticeship wage.

Eleven per cent of AAT members believe this wage should be immediately scrapped while no AAT members support a decrease in the apprenticeship wage.

Compliance and enforcement

Most AAT members (74%) believe companies that encounter genuine technical payroll administration errors, and correct the problem as soon as they become aware, should not be subject to naming and shaming by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the same way as those companies who wilfully avoid paying staff the minimum wage.

Nineteen per cent of AAT members disagree with this suggestion, and 7% are unsure.

Phil Hall, AAT Head of Public Affairs & Public Policy, says:

"The AAT Minimum Wage Survey 2017 has demonstrated clear support for increasing the minimum wage to levels recommended by the Living Wage Foundation as well as increasing the Apprenticeship wage if retained.

"It has also indicated support for scrapping all the different wage rates and replacing them with a single offering. This makes sense from a simplification perspective, but may be a little harder to justify politically.

"The greatest support was for a change to the so-called 'naming and shaming' process, that sees those who fail to comply with minimum wage requirements being 'shamed' by the Government. For those who have wilfully avoided their obligations, clearly this course of action is right. However, the failure to differentiate between wilful avoiders and genuine technical payroll errors appears to be causing significant concern amongst AAT members."