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Nearly two-thirds of retailers in the UK are planning to introduce the National Living Wage for all ages, according to new research.

With the National Living Wage coming into effect on Friday, meaning every worker over the age of 25 will earn at least £7.20 per hour, 64% of retail chains operating in the UK have said they will pay all workers that figure, regardless of age, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson.

Nearly half (45%) of those actually said they would go further than the National Living Wage, paying all staff at least £7.50 per hour. The study found that 27% of retail employees currently earn less than £7.20, 43% of whom are over 25.

The research also indicated that small and large retailers are more likely to offer NLW to all employees, compared to mid-sized retailers.

Tom Hellier, UK practice lead at Willis Towers Watson, said: "It is good to see that a number of employers are mebracing the spirit of the law and not just doing the bare minimum. Lesser implementation of the NLW to all employees is lower in mid-sized employers but these organisations tend to have larger numbers of people in the 'under 25' bracket. With this in mind, it's possible that the cost implications for mid-sized retailers are simply higher.

The survey also showed that 36% of firms anticipate that the NLW will impact higher earners, of which 38% will review pay for the whole workforce. However, more than half (59%) anticipate no impact on current staffing models.

Mr Hellier added: "Only a small number of companies foresee an immediate reduction in headcount or recruitment activity, or an increased reliance on part-time or seasonal staff. Although this contradicts some research which predicts long-term job losses. An area that does cause employers anxiety though is the potential for pay compression and, in particular, the potential costs associated with maintaining appropriate pay differentials across the organisation."