The government has announced an increase to the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage, which will take effect from 1 April 2024.

These wage increases are significant because:

  • the Low Pay Commission has highlighted it as the largest-ever increase to the minimum wage in cash terms
  • the age that workers must receive the highest rate of the National Living Wage is being lowered, so it now applies to employees or workers aged 21 or over – it used to only apply to those aged 23 or over.

This effectively gets rid of the old ‘adult’ rate, which used to apply to those aged 21 or 22. The National Minimum Wage is the rate that applies to employees or workers aged under 21 or apprentices.

Those who are entitled to receive the apprentice rate must be aged under 19, or 19 and over and in the first year of their apprenticeship agreement. If an apprentice is 19 or over and has completed the first year of their current apprenticeship, they’re entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage for their age.

What are the new rates?

  • Age 21 or over (National Living Wage) – £11.44 an hour (increased from £10.42 an hour or from £10.18 an hour for those aged 21 or 22).
  • Age 18 to 20 – £8.60 an hour (increased from £7.49 an hour).
  • Age 16 and 17 – £6.40 an hour (increased from £5.28 an hour).
  • Apprentices – £6.40 an hour (increased from £5.28 an hour).

It’s important to make sure that pay is increased in line with any birthdays, or work anniversaries for apprentices moving into their second year.