The National Minimum Wage has long set the UK apart as a nation which champions equality and fair employment, and fights low pay. The hourly rates have risen on average once a year over the past 15 years.
April 2017 saw the latest nationwide increase in the minimum hourly rate of pay for workers above school leaving age in the UK (National Minimum Wage) and those aged 25+ (National Living Wage).
Apprentices are entitled to apprentice rate if they are under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of their apprenticeship, and are entitled to the minimum wage if they are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship.
The following NLW and NMW hourly rates apply from 1 April 2017:
- Workers aged over 25 years (NLW): £7.50
- Workers aged 21 to 24 years: £7.05
- Workers aged 18 to 20 years: £5.60
- Workers aged 16 to 17 years: £4.05
- Apprentices (under 19 years, or in the first year): £3.50
If you run a business, you are responsible for ensuring any employees receive the correct minimum wage. For solicitors, HR consultants and business advisors, it can be helpful to ensure clients with employees are aware of this legislative change.
HMRC can force employers refusing to pay the minimum wage to pay up, and also impose a fine. Since February 2013, employers who have failed to pay have been “named and shamed”.
In 2016, a total of nearly 700 firms were fined nearly £1.4m for paying staff below the legal minimum. Total owed wages topped a staggering £3.5m last year.