A PROPOSAL to bring the amount trainees are paid up to the level of the minimum wage has been supported by the Social Security Minister.
The minister, Deputy Elaine Millar, said she was supportive of the principle behind a proposition from backbencher Deputy Max Andrews.
Deputy Millar has lodged an amendment which – if supported by States Members – would see the trainee rates harmonised, rather than abolished.
Harmonisation would allow greater flexibility, the minister argued, enabling trainee wage rates to be reintroduced at different levels in the future if labour market conditions were to change.
Whether Deputy Millar’s amendment is accepted or not, trainee rates are set to move to the minimum wage level – currently £10.50 per hour – from the start of 2024, if the proposal is supported by States Members when it is considered at the next sitting of the Assembly.
In the report accompanying his proposition, Deputy Andrews, 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.’
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.
The minimum hourly rates for first- and second-year trainees are currently £7.87 and £9.19 respectively.