French bakery and café chain PAUL will introduce the National Living Wage early, by increasing its starting pay rate to workers to £7.20 per hour from 1 November.
Team members at PAUL will be entitled to earn up to £8.90 per hour, and supervisors £9.60 per hour.
Jean Michel Orieux, CEO of PAUL UK, said: “By paying the April rate ahead of many other hospitality businesses, we are showing our commitment to our existing employees and are confident this will attract new people to the business”.
The decision follows PAUL’s recent announcement of record financial results for the year ending 31 December 2014, with revenue up 13.7 per cent and group turnover at £24.6m, an increase of 3.6 per cent on 2013’s figures.
PAUL expanded to a second restaurant and four additional bakeries in 2014, and plans to open a further seven bakeries in the next twelve months.
The group’s enthusiasm for the National Living Wage is not universally shared, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors, which employ two thirds of the country’s minimum wage workers.
The Office for Budget Responsibility estimated that 60,000 jobs could be lost as a result, while Costa Coffee and Premier Inn owner Whitbread has warned that increased prices may be required to tackle rising costs.
Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the National Living Wage in his Budget announcement in July. It requires all businesses to pay workers over the age of 25 a minimum of £7.20 per hour, rising to £9 per hour by 2020, replacing the previous minimum wage of £6.50 per hour for over 21-year-olds.
A study by KPMG, one of the big four auditors, found that approximately six million people would be lifted out of poverty due to its implementation.