Your Time, Your Pay

Young people are often hardest hit by economic trouble, and the pandemic and cost of living crisis has been no exception. The years since the 2008 crash have approached a permanent crisis for young people, as wages have stagnated and traditional protections, like trade unions or further education, have declined.

Your Time Your Pay looks at the experiences, knowledge, and situation of 16-24 year olds working in the UK.

What was found is widespread exploitation of young workers, a system that does not equip or protect young people in the workplace, and a need for unions to engage with young people in ways that matter to their situation.

The findings

  • Young people lose up to £1.65bn in overtime wage theft every year, and we estimate over 100,000 young people are never paid for their overtime.
  • Nearly two-fifths of respondents did not have a written employment contract.
  • Over two-fifths of young people have worked for no pay.
  • Two-thirds of young people do not always get paid for working overtime.
  • Three-quarters of young people are not in a trade union.
  • Two-thirds of young people enter the workforce with no education about their employment rights.

Key Recommendations

  • The government should abolish the National Minimum Wage rates based on a person’s age and uprate all under-23 year olds to at least the National Living Wage rate: £10.42 (from 1 April 2023)
  • Legislation should be introduced to ban unpaid trial shifts.
  • Expand automatic pension enrolment to qualifying over-16s.
  • Unions and other stakeholders should dedicate effort and content to engaging with young people by amplifying their successes and busting negative myths.

Click the image below to read the full report.