On 21st November 2023, the new National Minimum Wage rates were announced which will come into effect from April 2024. These changes represent a 9.8%. The new rates are as follows;
National Minimum Wage (Age 21+) £11.44
Age 18-20 £8.60
Age 16-17 £6.40
What else has changed?
The government also lowered the age at which people qualify for the national living wage, from 23 to 21 years old. This means that employees aged 21 and 22 currently on the national minimum wage of £10.18 will receive a £1.26 or 12.6% increase to £11.44.
Do you have to pay the National Minimum Wage?
It's illegal for employers not to pay employees at least the National Minimum Wage in the UK. Employees can take Employers to the Employment Tribunal if they are not paid correctly or make a complaint to HMRC. Rates are different based on age and whether you're employing Apprentices. If you don't pay the minimum wage you could be liable for fines and any awards given if the case is taken to an Employment Tribunal. In 2023 alone companies like Argos, WHSmith and Marks & Spencer were ordered to pay nearly £7 million to employees who didn't receive the National Minimum Wage. There's more information on what happens when people are not paid the National Minimum Wage here; https://www.acas.org.uk/national-minimum-wage-entitlement/if-an-employer-does-not-pay-minimum-wage#:~:text=If%20an%20employee%20or%20worker,type%20of%20claim%20they%20make.
What is the current National Minimum Wage?
You can see more on the current National Minimum Wage rates here; https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
Who doesn't get the National Minimum Wage?
Everyone isn't entitled to the National Minimum Wage, it doesn't apply to;
members of the armed forces
people living and working in a religious community
Prisoners receive a lower rate of pay for the work that they do.
Who sets the National Minimum Wage?
The independent Low Pay Commission (LPC) produces recommendations each November on what the minimum wage rates should be the following April. The government then reviews the figures and decides on what the change to the minimum earning rates should be. Increases to the National Minimum Wage happen annually every April.
What is the Real Living Wage?
This is a voluntary wage set by the Real Living Foundation charity that organisations can choose to pay to their staff. There are currently over 13,000 employers paying the Real Living Wage in the UK.
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Where can I find more information?
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All information within the post is provided for guidance only; always seek your own legal advice.
The information with this post was correct at the time of publishing, November 2023 but may be subject to change.