The national minimum wage (NMW) is the set minimum hourly rate that UK employers must pay their workers. There are three aged based rates and an apprentice rate which are usually updated in October each year.
Almost all workers who work in the UK are entitled to the NMW, except self-employed people and children who are still of compulsory school age.
The rates from October 2012 are as follows:
- Adult Rate (21 and over): Increase of 11 pence to £6.19 an hour
- The 18-20 year olds rate will remain at £4.98 an hour
- The 16-17 year olds rate will remain at £3.68 an hour
- The apprentice rate: Increase of 5 pence to £2.65 an hour
HMRC enforces the national minimum wage and if they find you have underpaid the NMW they will issue a notice of underpayment showing the arrears you must pay to your workers and possible penalties you must pay HMRC.
Does your payroll software flag up when employees rates are due to be reviewed? Check your employees’ ages and make sure you increase their hourly rates when applicable.