Press Centre


ASDA announced today that it is scrapping its ‘under 18’ pay rate to offer equal rates of pay for all colleagues doing the same job, regardless of  whether they’re sixteen or sixty. 

The move comes in the same week that new age discrimination legislation comes into effect, although the new rules do not force employers to level the pay playing field in this way.   

Until now, it’s been common practice for retailers to pay under 18s a lower rate of pay for doing the same job as someone who is over the age of 18.

ASDA believes this is no longer acceptable and has become the first supermarket to announce plans to put a stop to the practice. ASDA has more than 5,000 colleagues who are under 18 working in its stores across England, Scotland and Wales and is investing over £1.7 million in upping their pay rate to match the pay of older workers. 

This will see the average worker under the age of 18 take home an extra £300 over the next year. 

There is currently a different National Minimum Wage for people under 18, which from this week is set at £3.30 an hour, as opposed to £5.35 an hour for those over the age of 21. 

This allows employers to pay people under the age of 18 a much lower hourly rate for doing the same job as someone who’s a few years older. 

Sarah Dickins, head of reward & recognition at ASDA, said: "We simply don’t see why young people under the age of 18 working in our stores should be paid any less for doing the same job as someone a bit older. 

  “With the new age discrimination rules coming into force next week, we’ve taken another look at all our policies and have decided we no longer think it’s acceptable to have different pay rates for different age groups – you should be paid for the job you do, regardless of your age. 

Jude Brimble, GMB national officer for GMB members in ASDA said:

"It has been a long-standing GMB principle that people should be paid the rate for the job they do, regardless of age. So this is a very important breakthrough at ASDA for young workers. GMB welcomes this and consider that the Low Pay Commission should follow suit and recommend that this become the law of the land". 

ASDA operates a number of flexible working packages to support younger workers including a ‘store swap’ scheme that allows those studying away from home to work in a store near their college as well as in their home store. 

ASDA also has a number of younger workers amongst its 10,000-strong ‘Seasonal Squad’ who work for the supermarket for at least ten weeks every year often over the Christmas period and during the summer months.


Posted in Press Centre on 04 October 2006