Minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage applies to all people working in the UK, on a UK-flagged ship or in UK territorial waters such as offshore oil workers. There are modifications to the rules relating to apprentices, agricultural workers, where workers live on the premises, in the employer’s family home, or are otherwise provided with accommodation as a requirement of the job (for example hotel staff).

These rates are reviewed annually, with any change coming into effect from 1 October. The hourly rates up to 30 September 2015 (and from October 2015) are:

• people aged 21 or over £6.50 (£6.70)

• people aged between 18 and 20 £5.13 (£5.30)

• under 18 and over the compulsory school age £3.79 (£3.87)

• apprentices £2.73 (£3.30).

HMRC monitors and enforces the National Minimum Wage and has powers to inspect employers’ records. Employees who believe they are underpaid can ask to see these records and, if they apply in writing, must receive this information within 14 days.

National Living Wage

In his 2015 July budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced a new National Living Wage for over 25s of £7.20 an hour from April 2016 (i.e. 50p above the rise in National Minimum Wage from October 2015).