The government has asked the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to see whether the National Minimum Wage could be increased further to help those affected by the recent scrapping of the 10p tax rate.
The LPC, which is responsible for recommending minimum wage levels to the government each year, confirmed it had received a letter from the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.
Chancellor Alistair Darling had earlier said that the government would be writing to the LPC to ask how the minimum wage could "further support young workers".
Trade associations have condemned the move, claiming it threatens the LPC's independence in setting future wage rates.
LPC chairman Paul Myners said the commission was considering its response while continuing its work for the 2009 report. He said: "We will base our recommendations on the best available evidence, including that emerging from our research programme."