Higher minimum wage rise planned, says chief minister

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A HIGHER minimum wage could be introduced six years earlier than initially scheduled if a proposal due to be lodged by the Chief Minister is successful.

Senator Gorst has put forward the idea following a publication of a review by consultants commissioned by the States.

The review estimated that 14,800 Islanders would see their income increase and consumer spending would rise by £2.4 million, if the minimum wage was increased to 45 per cent of mean average earnings. If introduced today that would equate to £7.88 per hour. Jersey's current minimum wage is £7.18 per hour.

Senator Gorst said that the higher rate would support the States' overall objectives for the economy and the population.

He said: 'It is clear that a significantly higher minimum wage could bring both positive and negative consequences, with many employees benefitting and potentially higher consumer spending, but potential job losses and lower incomes for some.

'Overall, however, this report shows that the States' aspiration to achieve a minimum wage of 45 per cent of earnings by 2026 is too slow. I therefore want to accelerate the timetable, delivering this change by 2020. I will be bringing a proposal to the States later in the month to deliver this.'

The report states, however, that around 60 jobs would be lost if wages were raised to the proposed level and that around 400 Islanders would see their income reduced by employers cutting their worker's hours to cope with the increase.

Senator Gorst stopped short of saying that he would consider implementing the report's recommendation to set the minimum wage at 60 per cent of median weekly earnings – equivalent to £8.40 an hour.

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