Minimum wage was meant to be a means of ensuring that everyone had what they needed to survive. Can we really say that’s true? In today’s world, does the very basic wage really enable a person to live, or is the minimum wage too low?
Age and Amounts
At present, the minimum wage for a person aged 23 or over is £8.91 per hour. If you’re 21-22, that figure drops to £8.36 per hour. For 18 to 20 year olds, you would only receive £6.56, and under 18s get a measly £4.62 per hour.
Apprentice wages are also appalling, at £4.30 per hour. Granted, you get a qualification, but how are you meant to survive on that?
Let’s also factor in that, regardless of age, some things still cost the same. If you’re 19 and want to rent a property, you would have to pay the same amount as a 30 year old. So why a lower wage? Perhaps it is assumed that you will still be living with your parents, or at University, however this is not the case for everyone.
So, the first negative aspect is that the minimum wage penalises you for being born sooner. Put incredibly bluntly, you get paid less because your parents fornicated a few years after your colleagues parents.
Now, let’s also consider the ability to live. Hypothetically, you’re a 26 year old, working 40 hours a week. Congratulations, you’re making £18,532.80 per year.
Hang on, wait, let’s adjust. Of course, the government wants their cut. According to the Gov website, you’d pay £1190.76 in tax, and £1075.78 in National Insurance throughout the year. This leaves you with £16266.26 throughout the 12 months.
£1355.52 a month.
That may sound like a lot, but is it really?
Forget About a House
According to one of the main UK banks, you could borrow £82471 for a mortgage. Sounds great, but where we live, homes can be pricey. If you want a house, not a flat, you’d be looking at a minimum of £170000 within a 3 mile radius of where I live now. This means you’d need a deposit of approximately £88000, not including fees etc.
What if you’re already renting? That will seriously inhibit your ability to save. You can see EXACTLY what I think about trying to save for a deposit HERE. Hopefully it’ll give you a few laughs on an otherwise dismal subject.
What Does the Minimum Wage Say About Human Value?
To me, minimum wage isn’t necessarily a good thing. In our household, we already worked out that, earning minimum wage for an eight hour day, I’d be left with pittance after childcare and travel. Honestly, working for myself is far more lucrative.
My main peeve with minimum wage is that, when an employer tells me they pay that amount, they aren’t saying “Look at us, we’re a great law-abiding company”.
They’re saying I WOULD PAY YOU LESS IF I COULD GET AWAY WITH IT.
Perhaps not all companies but… honestly… think about some places you may have worked before. Do they seem nice, or like they want to get as much out of people for as little as possible?
Of course, I’m not saying pack in your job, as that wouldn’t be feasible. Instead, I think we should call on those who create laws (MPs who give themselves pay rises, YES I’m looking at you!), to ask for a LIVING wage to be mandated. After all, if the planet can send people to space on a sodding joyride, surely we can afford people the ability to have their own home AND be able to eat.
If you earn more than minimum wage, please remember to treat those in lower positions with the kindness and respect they deserve. After all, they are already given crap pay. The last thing they need is to also be treated as inferior.
Kindness makes the world go round.