The Low Pay Commission projected that the National Living Wave (NLW) ought to rise to £8.20 per hour – but is that really going to come into force?

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The answer is that in fact, NLW will rise a penny more than that, to £8.21 - with a more standard increase to other statutory wages. 

Nonetheless, with a record clampdown on minimum wage cheats last year, it couldn’t be more important to make sure you understand NMW and NLW rates and check that you’re paying your staff properly. Getting it wrong could mean a potential fine of up to £20,000 per unpaid worker, after all – along with a very public naming and shaming of your organisation

Read on for a quick overview of what you need to know. For more info, take a look inside Croner-i Human Resources.  


What’s the current minimum wage? 

For April 2019 onwards, the rates are as follows: 

  • National Living Wage (25+): £8.21 per hour
  • 21-24 rate: £7.70 per hour
  • 18-20 rate: £6.15 per hour
  • 16-18 rate: £4.35 per hour
  • Apprentice rate: £3.90 per hour


When does minimum wage apply? 

Minimum wage must be paid for all the time a worker spends at work “at the disposal of the employer”.  

That includes not only the hours when they’re physically working, but also any time spent waiting and stopping, travelling on the company expense, training, and on standby or on call. If you’ve required someone to be available to work within certain hours, you need to pay them for all of those hours.  

For instance, if you run a takeaway that offers deliveries, your delivery driver must be paid for the full time they spend hanging around the restaurant waiting to take deliveries.  

One exception to this is sleep-in shifts – currently a hot topic, following a recent Court of Appeal case. The Court determined that NMW doesn’t apply to these shifts, unless the worker is awake for the purpose of working. (Read our full article on sleep-in shifts for more information.) 

Minimum wage also doesn’t need to be paid for rest periods, breaks, sickness absence, holidays, parental leave, and so on. 


For the complete lowdown of minimum wage, including exactly when it needs to be paid and how to calculate what you owe, see the in-depth National Minimum Wage topic inside Croner-i Human Resources

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