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National Minimum Wage & National Living Wage increase from 1 April 2018.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour that most workers under the age of 25 are entitled to by law. The National Living Wage (NLW) is a variant of the NMW and is the minimum pay per hour most workers aged 25 and over are entitled to by law.


The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2018 have significantly increased the NMW and the NLW with effect from 1 April 2018.

As far as the NMW is concerned, workers aged 21 to 24 were paid £7.05 - and it went up to £7.38 from 1 April 2018. The wage increased from £5.60 to £5.90 for 18 to 20-year-olds, and from £4.05 to £4.20 for under 18's.  Apprentices were only entitled to £3.50 if they were under 19 - this increased to £3.70 from 1 April 2018.

The NLW increased by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour with effect from 1 April 2018.  The government aims to increase the NLW to £9.00 per hour by 2020.

The government has stated that the changes will benefit 2.5 million workers of all ages, and that this represents the largest minimum wage increase in a decade for young workers.

It can be difficult for employers to calculate if workers are receiving the NMW and the NLW, particularly if they receive benefits in kind such as accommodation, which cannot be included for the purpose of NLW calculations.  If in doubt, employers should seek advice.

The Low Pay Commission has recently advised the government that as many as 20% of workers may not receive the NLW immediately following a rate rise, and that two-thirds of underpaid workers are female.  HM Revenue & Customs can take employers to court for not paying the NMW and the NLW.  Underpaid female workers can bring equal pay claims against employers in the employment tribunal.  Don’t let it be you!

If you have any questions about the NMW or NLW please contact a member of our employment team on 01905 721600.

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