National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2024, the National Living Wage increased to £11.44 an hour.

As an employer, you need to be aware that the hourly rates for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage increased from 1 April 2024.

The National Living Wage increased by 9.8%, from £10.42 an hour to £11.44.

At the same time, the rate for the National Minimum Wage has also risen.

Employees underpin every successful business, and it is right that they are treated fairly at work, receive a decent wage and have the opportunity to develop a career.

More than 2 million people across the UK receive the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage.

Measured increases support Britain's workforce.

What are the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage?

The National Minimum Wage is the minimum hourly pay that most workers in the UK are entitled to by law. The Government sets this rate. Find out who is eligible to receive it.

It was introduced in 2016 at a rate of £7.20, with an initial target to reach 60% of median UK earnings (that is, the amount that falls exactly in the middle of the range of earnings across the entire UK) by 2020.

Since then, the rate has seen significant increases.

The National Minimum Wage varies depending on an employee's age and whether they work as an apprentice.

From 1 April 2024, employers must pay the National Living Wage to workers who are 21 or older. 

The National Living Wage is the highest rate of the National Minimum Wage.

What is the Real Living Wage?

This is the only UK wage rate based on living costs. It is set by the Living Wage Foundation.

Businesses that believe their staff deserve a wage that meets everyday needs - like the weekly shop or a surprise trip to the dentist - can choose to pay it.

Right now, 14,000 businesses in the UK voluntarily pay their employees the Real Living Wage.

A broad range of employers are accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, including two-fifths of the FTSE 100 and household names like Nationwide, Google, Brewdog, Everton Football Club and Chelsea Football Club.

The rate is £12 across the UK and £13.15 in London (covering all boroughs in Greater London).

What do I need to do as an employer?

To avoid falling foul of the law, you should take the following simple steps to meet your legal responsibilities regarding the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage:

  • identify the relevant new rates for each of your staff (as appropriate)
  • update the company payroll
  • communicate the changes to staff as soon as possible

Where can I find help?

You can read more about the increases to the National Living Wage rate at GOV.UK.

You can also call the Acas Helpline for advice and support to help you understand what you need to do to pay your employees correctly.

Even if you're paying your employees at or above the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage, you could still be underpaying them.

This can easily happen if you make wage deductions or don't pay employees for all the time they work.

If you find you've been paying your employees below the correct minimum wage, you must pay any arrears immediately.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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