Despite current concerns over Brexit, there’s some good news for workers on low wages when both the UK National Living Wage (NLW) and the UK National Minimum Wage (NMW) increase in April.
It’s all part of the government’s drive to ‘make work pay’, having introduced the National Living Wage for over 25s in 2016. From April, this will rise by 4.4% from £7.50 per hour to £7.83. For Full time employees, this should amount to an annual salary increase of around £700.
Increases for both National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage earners
The National Living Wage differs from the National Minimum Wage in that it only applies to workers over the age of 25 who aren’t in the first year of an apprentice course. For apprentices and young workers aged 16-24, the National Minimum Wage applies. However, they will also receive a pay rise, depending on age and work status.
Apprentices will see their hourly rate rise to £3.70 from £3.50, while young workers aged 16-to 18 will see an extra 15p added, taking their hourly wage to £4.20. 18 to 20 years olds will see an increase of 30p to £5.90 and 21-24 year olds will enjoy a pay rise of 33p to £7.38.
If you’re job searching, it’s good to know that increases will apply to workers across the board, including those employed in jobs in the so-called ‘gig economy’. This sector includes casual employment such as Uber, Upwork and Etsy. This type of work can be a useful stopgap during a job search.
Government commitment to improve wage equality
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced in 1999 to protect workers from exploitative working arrangements, while the National Living Wage (NLW), introduced in 2016, is designed to promote wage equality. The goal is for the National Living Wage to reach 60% of median wages by 2020, subject to sustained economic growth.
Both National Minimum wage and the National Living Wage are set to be reassessed each April in line with the government’s plan to deliver a rate of £9 per hour as the national living wage for all those over 25 by 2025.
Are you getting what’s due to you?
The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage are legal entitlements and cannot be changed by an agreement between a worker and an employer. If you think you aren’t getting the right rate, it might be an idea, in the first instance, to meet with your employer and go through the figures to ensure everything is correct.
After that, if you still have an issue with your salary, you can make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal. Alternatively, you can take the issue up with HMRC (note that you can’t take a case both to an Employment Tribunal and HMRC). If you go down the HMRC route, this can be done anonymously, useful for people who may feel at risk of losing their job for making a complaint.
The fines for employers who do not comply with NLW/NMW law are significant, ranging up to £20,000 per worker. Those who fail to pay can be banned from being a company director for up to 15 years.
To find the best jobs at every wage level, carry out our job search on Zoek.