New national minimum wage rates come into effect

Last Saturday (October 1), the government introduced increases to the National Minimum Wage rates of pay.

It is the minimum pay per hour all workers are entitled to by law, depending on their age and whether they are an apprentice.

The new rates of pay are £6.95 for those aged 21-24, £5.55 for 18-20 year olds and £4 for under 18s.

For apprentices, the rate is £3.40 in their first year of employment and before their 19th birthday. If apprentices are aged 19+, second year pay should be in line with the National Minimum Wage rates for their age group (£5.55 if they are aged 19 or 20 or £6.95 if they are 21-24).

The British Retail Consortium has advised that ‘no matter how large or small your business, it’s your obligation as an employer to ensure that all staff earning National Minimum Wage are paid correctly at the new rates. It can be a criminal offence for employers not to pay workers correctly or to falsify payment records.

‘Failure to pay the correct rate will result in having to pay your workers back the money they are owed immediately. In addition, you may be subject to a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per worker and your firm could be named in public.’

To check the National Minimum Wage rates, visit


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