From 1 April 2018, the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage will increase across all ages. The hourly rate for the minimum wage will depend on your age and whether you are an apprentice.
What is the difference between the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage?
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers under the age of 25 are entitled to by law. The National Living Wage (NLW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers aged 25 and over are entitled to by law.
The Living Wage is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated on the basic cost of living in the UK. However, it is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. The Living Wage Foundation recommends that employers pay the Real Living Wage which is £8.75 per hour across the UK and £10.20 in London. Although the Real Living Wage is voluntary for businesses, almost 4,000 UK businesses are paying their staff this wage.
|Year||25 and over||21 to 24||18 to 20||Under 18||Apprentice|
|April 2017 (current)||£7.50||£7.05||£5.60||£4.05||£3.50|
What happens if an employer pays workers less than the National Minimum Wage?
It is a criminal offence for employers to pay someone less than the NMW or to fake payment records. If your employer isn’t paying you the correct rate, you should firstly try to speak to your employer and resolve the issue informally. Failing this, you have the right to ask the employer, in writing, to see the payment records.
If you find that route ineffective, you may make a formal grievance to your employer. You can call the confidential Acas Helpline in order to try to resolve the issue, or alternatively you can make a complaint to the HMRC who will investigate the complaint. If HMRC find that your employer hasn’t paid you the correct rate, they can send a notice of arrears plus a penalty for not paying you correctly.
The penalty for non-payment will be 200% of the amount owed, unless the arrears are paid within 14 days.
The maximum fine for non-payment is £20,000 per worker and if they fail to pay, they will be banned from being a company director for up to 15 years.
What if I have been dismissed because of a minimum wage dispute?
If you have been dismissed because of a minimum wage dispute, you can complain to the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. Our Employment team are highly experienced in conducting employment tribunal proceedings on behalf of employees.
If you have been affected by any of the matters raised in this article, please contact our Employment team on 020 3814 2020.