The national minimum wage (NMW) will rise by 11p to £6.19 per hour in October 2012, the Government has announced, in line with recommendations by the Low Pay Commission.
The changes represent an increase of 1.8% which, while still below the current 3.7% rate of inflation, is broadly in line with the average increase in earnings, which went up by 1.4% in the year to January 2012. The minimum wage for workers aged under 21 will remain the same, at £4.98 for workers aged 18-20, and £3.68 for those aged 16-17. Apprentices will see a 5p increase in their rate to £2.65 an hour.
It’s important to know who is entitled to the national minimum wage:
Most workers in the UK over school-leaving age are legally entitled to be paid at least the NMW and all employers are legally obliged to pay it, regardless of whether an employee has signed a contract agreeing to be paid at a lower rate.
Agricultural workers are entitled to the agricultural minimum wage, which may be more than the NMW, depending on their category and grade.
Home workers, or people who work from home, are also entitled to the NMW, provided they are not running their own business.
Trainees and staff who are working on probation are also entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage, with the exception of certain apprentices and workers on specified UK training courses.
Among those not entitled to the minimum wage are self-employed people, volunteers, voluntary workers and company directors.
Employers can face a financial penalty for failing to pay eligible workers at least the national minimum wage.