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New rates for the National Minimum Wage come into force

Changes to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage (NMW) announced six months ago came into force on 1 October.

The main rate for workers aged 21 and over has risen by 12 pence to £6.31 per hour. This is an increase of 1.9 per cent on last year's rate, which stood at £6.19.

For workers aged 18 to 20, the rate has gone up by 5 pence to £5.03 per hour, an increase of 1.0 per cent.

For those aged 16 and 17, it went up by 4 pence to £3.72 an hour, a rise of 1.0 per cent.

Apprentices saw their rate rise by 3 pence to £2.68 per hour, an increase of 1.1 per cent. This rate applies to apprentices under 19 or those in their first year. Apprentices aged 19 or over and past their first year get the rate applicable for their age.

Last April, the Government announced that it had accepted the rates recommended by the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC) - with the exception of the apprentice rate. The LPC had recommended that this be frozen because of concerns over levels of compliance. But the Government raised the rate in line with other youth rates 'to continue to make [apprenticeships] attractive to young people'.

The rates for workers aged 18 to 20, and 16 and 17, were increased for the first time in two years.

Most UK workers over school leaving age are legally entitled to be paid at least the NMW. Those eligible include agency workers, casual workers, part-time workers, pieceworkers, homeworkers and anyone working on commission.

Those not entitled include the self-employed, volunteers, students on work experience, people on certain training schemes, some company directors, workers living in an employer's household, residents of certain religious communities, prisoners, the armed forces and share fishermen.

Employers can be named, and face criminal prosecutions and unlimited fines for failing to pay at least the NMW to eligible workers.

Acas can help organisations find practical solutions to issues related to pay and reward. Visit Pay and reward: how Acas can help and the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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