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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has announced that trainee solicitors would be considered apprentices and only entitled to £2.60 per hour if the minimum salary is scrapped.
Without the SRA regulating minimum salary levels, trainee solicitors’ pay would fall under the terms of National Minimum Wage Regulations, which dictate they would in turn be seen as apprentices.
In a statement from the SRA a spokesperson said: “Whilst the SRA board does not believe that this advice affects the regulatory arguments for a review of its role in the setting of a minimum salary, the board is mindful of the fact that this advice may affect the potential impacts of deregulation in this area.
“The board is keen, therefore, to canvass views on the potential impact as well as on an option to retain a prescribed minimum salary which is set at the level of the standard national minimum wage.”
According to the consultation paper, as apprentices trainee solicitors would be entitled to only £2.60 per hour in their first year and £6.08 per hour for subsequent years.
The news follows the Junior Lawyers’ Division (JLD) calling for the consultation to be delayed until the conclusion of the Legal Education and Training Review due to the instability of the UK legal market (19 March 2012).