Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Bid to pay young Manx workers adult minimum wage rejected

Money shaken from a wallet Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some politicians argued that paying young people less was simply "discriminatory"

A bid to pay 16 and 17-year-olds on the Isle of Man the adult minimum wage has been rejected by politicians.

The current adult minimum rate is £7.85 per hour but those under 18 on the island are paid £5.85 - 30 pence lower than in the UK.

Clare Bettison MHK had called for the "discriminatory" age band to be scrapped.

But Enterprise Minister Laurence Skelly argued the move could "disadvantage the very people we're trying to help".

He said some businesses operated on "wafer thin margins" and the change could lead to wage bills for younger workers rising by 35%.

The 21-24 age band was abolished for Manx workers last year.

Image copyright IOM GOV
Image caption Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said hiking the rate for younger worker could "price them out of jobs"

The current rates paid are set to overtake those in the UK in October this year, when 5% increase will come into force.

Ms Bettison had argued the current age-related wage bands were discriminatory and helped to "perpetuate the myth" that younger workers were "worthless".

And Tanya August-Hanson MLC said paying young people less for doing "exactly the same job" was "fundamentally wrong".

But Chris Robertshaw MHK said, while it was an "incredibly well intentioned motion", the impact it could have on businesses should be considered "with incredible care".

He said, should there be a down-turn in the Manx economy in future, younger workers could end up being overlooked by employers.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said an increase could put young workers at "at risk of being priced out of jobs" by more mature and experienced workers.

Removing the band could also take away the "incentive" to stay on in education and get a "better chance and opportunity", he added.

After more than an hour of debate, Tynwald members voted against abolishing the age band.

In June, politicians approved a 40p increase in the minimum wage for over-18s and a 30p rise for younger workers a 40p increase in the minimum wage for over-18s and a 30p rise for younger workers.

From October, adults will be paid a minimum of £8.25 per-hour, while those under 18 will be paid £6.15.

The current adult rate is 36 pence lower than the UK rate.

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