Call to increase minimum wage to £10 in Jersey

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JERSEY’S minimum wage will increase to £10 per hour by the autumn and will eventually be brought into line with the living wage, if a proposition from Deputy Sam Mézec is approved.

Less than a week after being returned to the States by voters in the St Helier South district, the Reform Jersey leader has lodged proposals to enact a manifesto pledge to help some of the lowest earners in the Island.

His proposition calls for the minimum wage, which currently stands at £9.22 per hour, to rise to £10 per hour by 1 October. The National Minimum Wage is £9.50 per hour.

Deputy Mézec’s proposition also asks for the Assembly to agree that Jersey’s minimum wage should align with the Living Wage, with the plan for achieving this to be in place by June 2023.

The Living Wage is currently calculated by the charity Caritas, and is uprated every year after examining the prevailing economic conditions and determining what someone would need to earn on full-time hours to be able to sustain a basic standard of living without having to claim social security. It is currently set at £11.27 per hour.

In the proposition, Deputy Mézec said: ‘As well as lagging behind the Living Wage, Jersey’s minimum wage has also been behind the UK’s minimum wage (although it is perversely now called the ‘‘National Living Wage’’ there) for several years.

‘This is despite the higher cost of living here.

‘A worker on the minimum wage in Jersey is now substantially worse off than a worker on the minimum wage in most parts of the UK.

‘It is therefore no surprise that the recent Jersey Household Income Distribution Survey has confirmed that a greater proportion of households in Jersey (27%) are living in relative low income than in the UK (22%).’

He added: ‘The outgoing government had pledged to “reduce income inequality and improve the standard of living” in its Common Strategic Policy but made little effort to achieve this.

‘The new States Assembly has an opportunity to begin on a positive note and take meaningful action to improve life for those on the lowest wages.’

The proposition is due to be debated on 13 September.

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