National Minimum Wage: All You Need to Know in 2023
The national minimum wage in England is the amount of money most workers in England are legally entitled to be paid per hour. The government sets it, and all employers must pay employees this rate regardless of size or industry. Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage can be publicly identified and shamed; however, research has demonstrated that fines alone are ineffective at deterring those who break the law.
|UK Minimum Wage Amounts
||23 and over
||21 to 22
||18 to 20
National Minimum Wage: What is it in England?
The national minimum wage is a legal obligation that employers must pay all workers fairly. Furthermore, it serves as a tool for the government to monitor whether employees are being paid properly.
- The national minimum wage fluctuates annually, with different rates applied to various age groups and apprentices.
- These laws exist to guarantee all workers a fair wage and safeguard jobs.
- If your employer fails to pay you the national minimum or living wage, there may be ways to challenge this.
- Start by raising the issue with your employer first; if they don’t respond, report it to the Low Pay Commission and government authorities for further action, and always remember that you have the right to inspect your employer’s records.
- These should include all payments from your wages, including tax and National Insurance contributions. You can request these records in writing or bring someone to inspecting them.
- It’s also essential to remember that employers must deduct certain expenses from your wages before calculating if you have been paid the correct minimum wage.
- These could include service charges, uniforms and equipment used in your job. Therefore, you might be entitled to more than the national minimum or living wage if you work full-time or are a young worker.
- In addition to the national minimum wage and living wage, employers must abide by other pay laws.
- For instance, workers must receive a certain number of hours per week and be paid a fair amount for overtime work.
- Employers must provide annual leave of at least 28 days and can opt to include bank holidays in their contracts.
Furthermore, workers in England and Wales have the right to earn holiday pay of up to five weeks for each holiday they take.
The UK Gov website allows you to Check Your Pay through their new campaign, which you can do here.
National Minimum Wage: Who is Entitled to it?
The national minimum wage in England (NMW) is the pay you should receive for each hour worked. It’s set by the government each year and based on recommendations from an independent advisory group called the Low Pay Commission. Your rate depends on your age and whether or not you are an apprentice. Around April or October each year, the statutory rates for National Minimum Wage and NMW are adjusted.
These rates apply to almost all workers in the UK – full- and part-time employees alike, agency workers, migrant workers and casual staff. Some individuals, such as self-employed people, company directors, armed forces members and voluntary workers, are not entitled to the NMW. Instead, they should be paid a national living wage higher than the NMW.
It’s worth remembering that family members of an employer’s employees who live in their home aren’t entitled to NMW benefits; thus, employers should make sure this is considered when making pay calculations. Workers enrolled in an apprenticeship are not automatically entitled to the NMW; however, their employers must guarantee they receive it for all time worked as an apprentice – including training or studying.
Anyone offering a ‘work placement’ or ‘work experience’ should pay more than the minimum wage if the employee works under a work contract. If you have doubts about your employees’ rights as employers, contact Acas for assistance. The NMW is divided into two bands, the adult NMW and the child NMW.
The rate for adults is higher than that for children and has been raised by 10% in September 2022, benefitting nearly 400,000 workers. You are eligible for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) if employed in the UK and over school leaving age. Unfortunately, those under 23 or whose job does not involve manual labour such as driving, cleaning or manufacturing cannot claim this benefit.
On top of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), those over 23 are entitled to the National Living Wage. You cannot receive this rate if you’re employed in an education or training role, on a probationary period, or employed through a government employment program or a family member’s employment contract.
National Minimum Wage: How is it Enforced?
Both government and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) enforce the national minimum wage. HMRC also employs compliance officers who can inspect employers. If they believe there might be a potential for non-payment, these officers can initiate an investigation. According to law, employers must pay their workers the national minimum wage for every hour worked.
This amount is based on gross earnings before tax, and national insurance deductions are removed. No exceptions or variations are based on age, regional area, employer size, industrial sector or occupation. Workers who believe their wages are below the national minimum wage can take their employer to court for backdated wages.
They may be entitled to up to six years’ worth of wages, which could amount to a substantial payout.
Employers mustn’t siphon off employees’ wages. Furthermore, it ensures workers don’t suffer unfair treatment from their employers and gives compliant companies an edge over non-compliant businesses. Minimum wages in most countries are determined by statutes, decisions of competent authorities, wage boards and councils, and collective agreements. They may be set at one level or multiple rates according to a country’s economic and intellectual context with consultation between employers and workers.
National Minimum Wage: Why Do We Have it?
Over the past several decades, many countries have implemented or increased minimum wages. Minimum wage laws are widely used worldwide, particularly in developing and emerging economies. While they can have positive effects, such as increasing spending power, they may also have unintended negative consequences.
They can increase unemployment or job outsourcing, as employers may move their operations to cheaper locales. Furthermore, employers have the power to reduce worker availability for work, which in turn negatively impacts productivity levels.
Effective minimum wage enforcement requires a well-resourced enforcement team that issues rules and regulations; conducts thorough investigations; provides outreach to workers and employers; promptly resolves complaints from start to finish; and recovers wages owed to workers. Until cities can fund an enforcement team immediately, advocates and lawmakers should incorporate this goal into any local minimum wage law they pass.
National Minimum Wage: How Can I Check if I’m Being Paid the NMW?
If you work in England and believe you aren’t paid the national minimum wage, check your work contract or speak to your employer first.
If this doesn’t solve the issue:
- Ask them in writing for payment records within 14 days of the request or at an agreed-upon date between both parties.
- Another option is to file a complaint online with HMRC, which will investigate on your behalf. If they determine you’re being underpaid, you can get the money back immediately; additionally, HMRC will instruct your employer to pay you the full amount due and fine them for any underpayments.
- You may also contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) via their confidential helpline for advice on making a complaint and possible transfer to HMRC.
- Keep accurate records of all payments you receive. These should include the average hourly rate you’re paid, your weekly or monthly salary, and rated output – the number of hours worked in a week divided by your average pay. If your employer fails to pay you the correct amount, HM Revenue & Customs may fine them and issue a warning letter if found breaking the national minimum wage.
Furthermore, employers facing such actions could face public embarrassment from government authorities. Employers generally follow the law and ensure their workers get paid what is owed them, but some still attempt to skirt around paying employees what they deserve. Everyone must know the national minimum wage and their rights, so they can fight for what they’re owed.
Every year, the government sets minimum wage rates that depend on your age and whether you’re an apprentice. These rates are determined based on recommendations from the Low Pay Commission – an independent body which assesses wages across Britain – which are then implemented.
Using the government’s calculator, you can check if you receive the national minimum wage. If not, contact UNISON, the UK’s largest union, for advice and support.
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