(Reuters) — Starbucks Corp, the world's biggest coffee chain, said it would raise the minimum wage for its U.K. staff to 7.20 pounds (C$14.61) an hour in April 2016, regardless of age, and offer interest-free loans to employees moving into new homes.
Starbucks will pay the National Living Wage to all of its employees in the U.K., including apprentices and more than 4,500 employees under the age of 25, the company said in a statement.
A compulsory minimum wage for workers aged over 25 will be introduced in April.
The current U.K. minimum wage for those aged 21 and over is 6.50 pounds an hour and will rise to 6.70 pounds in October.
More than half of Starbucks' 7,000 or so employees in the U.K. are under the age of 25. After the change in April, the average hourly rate will be 7.98 pounds.
The Financial Times reported earlier that Starbucks would raise the average wage of its U.K. staff in November.
The announcement by Starbucks comes a week after German-owned discount supermarket Lidl said it would increase pay for thousands of its staff in Britain by at least 12 per cent.
Starbucks also said it would provide an interest-free loan to help employees moving into a new home to pay rental deposits. The maximum loan will be equivalent to one month's wages, to be repaid over 12 months.