Increase in National Minimum Wage

The implementation of the new national minimum wage starts today. The current rate for workers aged 21 and over goes up from £5.80 per hour to £5.93 per hour.

Previously employees aged 21 were not entitled to receive the full wage.

Workers aged 19 to 20 will now be entitled to a minimum rate of £4.92 per hour, going up from £4.83.

16 to 17 year olds will have a minimum entitlement of £3.64 per hour, going up from £3.57.

For the first time apprentices under the age of 19 are to be covered by the minimum wage, with an hourly rate of £2.50 set.

There was a warning given by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) that future rises must be kept at a minimal rate, in order not to over burden retailers with employee costs.

Stephen Robertson, the director-general of BCC said: “Trading conditions are tough, higher costs, such as April’s National Insurance increase will pile on even more pressure.”

“Even a small increase in 2011’s minimum wage could choke off retailers’ vital potential to create new jobs.”

The government plans to crack down on employers who are not complying with minimum wage legislation by naming and shaming offenders.

Employment minister Edward Davey said: “Bad publicity can be a powerful weapon in the fight against employers who try to cheat their workers and competitors. Their reputation can be badly damaged if they are seen to be flouting the law.”

Ricky Steedman