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The Law Society of Scotland (LSS) has announced that trainee solicitors are to be paid at least the national minimum wage of £6.08 per hour from June 2012.
The move could mean that trainees in Scotland would be entitled to almost £3.50 more per hour than trainees in England and Wales should the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) decide to scrap minimum wage packages.
According to the SRA, the removal of minimum pay levels could reclassify trainees as apprentices, reducing salary to just £2.60 per hour (22 March 2012).
LSS has also said it will continue to encourage firms to pay the recommended salary of £15,965 and £19,107 for first and second-year trainees respectively.
LSS director of education and training Liz Campbell said in a statement: “The Society obtained a legal opinion on the issue as a small but steadily growing number of people had approached us and the Scottish Young Lawyers Association asking whether they could undertake their traineeship unpaid.
“The decision today means that future traineeship contracts will only be registered by the Society if payment is at or above the National Minimum Wage.”
The news follows the Law Society of England and Wales coming out strongly against the SRA consultation on the removal of trainee minimum salaries, warning that the move could create an image that would not benefit the profession (12 April 2012).
Trainees in England and Wales are currently protected by the minimum salary of £18,560 for those working in London, and £16,650 for those working elsewhere (28 July 2011).
The SRA however recommended £19,040 minimum salary for Central London and £16,940 for elsewhere.