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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4531

Acas urges employers to avoid tribunals by preparing for new National Minimum Wage

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Workplace experts Acas are alerting employers about new National Minimum Wage rates that will come into force next week on Tuesday 1 October 2013.

Last year there were 500 employment tribunal claims concerning the national minimum wage and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also identified 736 employers who had failed to pay the wage.

The new minimum wage rates for workers will be:

  • £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 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

Acas have also launched a new tool available at www.acas.org.uk/nmw to help employers and employees work out the right minimum wage payments. The tool is part of Acas' Helpline Online service which offers 24 hour free advice and guidance on rights at work and employment law. Employers and employees can also call the Acas helpline on 08457 47 47 47.

Acas Chair Ed Sweeney said:

"Employers have a legal duty to pay the national minimum wage or they risk getting prosecuted if they refuse to pay it.

"Our helpline is a highly trusted source of free advice with over 90 per cent of callers satisfied with the service. Over the past year our advisers dealt with nearly 80,000 calls on the national minimum wage and wages generally.

"Most employers should be aware of the changes taking place from 1 October but the earlier you seek advice about any concerns you have about employee wages then the more likely you are to be able to avoid the cost, stress and time involved in an employment tribunal."

A new change will also come into force for Agricultural and Horticultural workers in England who are employed after 1 October 2013. These new workers will be covered by the National Minimum Wage rates rather than the Agricultural Wages Order 2012.

Workers who are already employed before 1 October 2013 will still be entitled to the same terms and conditions set under their employment contract and the Order. Workers in Scotland (see The Scottish Government - Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (SAWB)) will continue to be covered by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board. In Wales, the current arrangements remain until a pending ruling by the Supreme Court.

Notes to editors

  1. The Acas helpline - 08457 47 47 47 - is available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Advice is free and confidential so callers do not have to give their names.
  2. For more information about the national minimum wage changes visit www.acas.org.uk/nmw.
  3. Agricultural and Horticultural workers in Wales will continue to remain on current arrangements until a pending ruling by the Supreme Court. For more information about the agricultural minimum wage changes visit GOV.UK - Agricultural workers' rights.
  4. ET and HMRC statistics from www.gov.uk.
  5. There were 78,442 calls on Wages and the National Minimum Wage to the Acas helpline from September 2012 to August 2013.
  6. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.
  7. For media enquiries or to speak to an Acas spokesperson please contact Lou Owen on 020 7210 3920. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 07825 691093.