SRA abandons minimum trainee salary
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The SRA Board has decided that as of 1 August 2014, firms will no longer be obliged to pay trainees a minimum salary that is set by the SRA. Rather, they need only pay trainees at least the national minimum wage - currently £6.08 per hour.
The board agreed that setting a minimum salary level for trainees above the national minimum wage was not in the public interest, but delayed the introduction of the change for two years to "minimise impact". Over one year, a trainee paid at minimum wage levels will earn around £11,000 before tax. The current minimum trainee salary (set by the SRA) is £16,650 (and £18,590 in London), so potentially trainees face a substantial drop.
Samantha Barrass, SRA executive director, said: "We wish to thank everyone who responded to the consultation, and those who took part in the stakeholder meetings, focus groups, and the online survey for their views and information that were taken into account in reaching this decision. This decision was based on an objective consideration of very full and detailed evidence gathered through a variety of sources."
Since the change was first proposed in January, it has been much criticised in the intervening months, by the JLD, the Law Society and others. Since the announcement yesterday, responses have included a blog in the Gazette calling the decision "morally reprehensible" and Alex Aldridge's opinion on his blog Legal Cheek that, on balance, it was a necessary decision.