WAGES for trainees will be brought in line with the legal minimum wage for all Islanders by the start of next year – if a backbencher’s proposition is supported by the States Assembly.
A proposal lodged by Deputy Max Andrews seeks to change the law in order to implement a recommendation from the Jersey Employment Forum that the minimum-wage rates for trainees be adopted by the end of 2023.
If his proposition is approved, the minimum hourly rates for first- and second-year trainees (currently £7.87 and £9.19 respectively) will be scrapped, with all employees of school leaving age and above having to be paid the minimum wage of £10.50 per hour from 1 January.
In the report accompanying his proposition, the representative for St Helier North referred to data published by Statistics Jersey in 2016 showing that fewer than 100 people received the minimum trainee wage.
Deputy Andrews said: ‘It seems peculiar to maintain the trainee minimum-wage rates, which are £2.63 and £1.31 below the current minimum [hourly] wage rate.
‘Therefore, I am asking the States Assembly to specifically request the amalgamation of the trainee minimum-wage rates into the baseline minimum-wage rate no later than January 2024.’
In a report presented to the States last September, the Jersey Employment Forum stated that there appeared to be little justification for retaining trainee rates as part of the minimum-wage structure in Jersey.
The forum said the current situation created anomalies, and that all employees needed training to be effective and to acquire skills.
Most apprentices were paid above the minimum level simply because of the demand for them, the report added, particularly in areas such as construction.
The forum concluded: ‘Opinion suggests that the trainee rates regime is outdated and not consistent with the current labour market – paying the trainee rate has been described as “trying to get apprentices on the cheap”.’