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National Minimum Wage increases on 1st October 2013

Sep 25, 2013

Next week sees the annual increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW). For employees aged 21 and over it is currently £6.19 per hour but from 1st October the following rates will apply:

  • £6.31 for people aged 21 years and over;
  • £5.03 for people aged 18 to 20 years old;
  • £3.72 for people aged 16 to 17 years old;
  • £2.68 for apprentices under 19;
  • £2.68 for apprentices aged 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

ACAS has prefaced the rise with a warning to employers to prepare in advance so that they avoid disputes. The statistics suggest that last year there were relatively few Employment Tribunal claims (500) concerning the NMW and those businesses who already pay well probably have little to worry about.

However if your staff are working especially long hours then you might need to review pay levels. I dealt with a case a few years ago where an employee was paid a reasonable amount per week but was then put to work at all hours of the day. Ultimately he succeeded in his claim for back pay because when his fixed weekly wage was divided by the hours he worked his remuneration fell below NMW levels at the time.

Issues with NMW tend to be restricted to certain industries where low-paid workforces are common but it is important to check for compliance if there is any doubt.  An unhappy employee could start an Employment Tribunal claim or it is open to HMRC to start civil and/or criminal proceedings against the employer.

If you have any concerns about the NMW please speak to one of our employment law specialists on 020 7234 0200.