Women workers 'national living wage winners'
Almost a third of women workers will receive a pay rise after the new national living wage comes into force next year, according to a new study.
From next April, firms will have to pay all workers aged over 25 at least £7.20 an hour - up from the current national minimum wage of £6.50.
An analysis by the Resolution Foundation think tank found that six million people - almost a quarter of all employees - will get a wage rise by the end of the decade, worth an average of £1,210.
This includes 2.8 million employees who are already being paid the living wage but will benefit from a "ripple effect" as firms aim to maintain pay gaps between different workers, the report said.
Women are expected to account for 3.7 million of those receiving a pay rise because of their high concentration in low paid jobs, it was estimated.
Workers in areas including Yorkshire and the Humber, Midlands and Wales are expected to be among those benefiting most from the higher wage.
Around two out of five part-time workers and 16% of full-time employees will benefit from the new higher wage, the Resolution Foundation said.
Policy analyst Conor D'Arcy, said: "The national living wage represents a much-needed boost to the wages of millions of low paid workers.
"Because of their concentration among the low paid, women will account for the majority of the winners.
"This will have a positive - though modest - effect on the gender pay gap, and will particularly help those working part-time.
"With typical wages still only at their 2004 level in real terms, and the employment rate at an historic high, the case for boosting the wages of these workers is strong.
"However, the pace of national living wage increases over the parliament will move our labour market into uncharted territory.
"The 16 years since the introduction of the first minimum wage have shown that UK employers are adaptable and have coped well with the rising wage floor.
"But with the national living wage set to deliver a pay rise to almost three in 10 employees in some regions, the impact on workers, and the challenge for employers in these areas will potentially be large."
Chancellor George Osborne - who announced the national living wage in his summer Budget - said the report was a "new vote of confidence" in the measure.
"Britain deserves a pay rise - and this Government is making sure it gets one," he said.