The national living wage and YOU – what it is.
On 1 April 2016 the government’s new ‘national living wage’ rate of £7.20 an hour came into force for workers aged 25 and over. This introduces a new age band and rate for the national minimum wage. It means if you’re aged 25 or over and not in the first year of an apprenticeship, you should legally be paid a minimum of £7.20 per hour.
The national living wage – what it isn’t
National minimum wage rates for workers under 25 remain the same. So if you are a worker aged between 21 and 24 you should legally be receiving the adult rate of the national minimum wage which is £6.70 an hour. If you are aged between 18 and 20 you should be paid a minimum of £5.30 and if you are aged between 16 and 17 you should be paid a minimum of £3.87 per hour.
The minimum hourly rate for apprentices is £3.30 per hour if you are aged 16 to 18 or aged 19 or over and in your first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the national minimum wage for their age.
The government’s new ‘national living wage’ rate should not be confused with the ‘real’ living wage. This is a higher, and fairer rate, set by the Living Wage Foundation that reflects the true minimum cost of living. Over 2,238 companies in the UK are signed up and pay all their staff at least the living wage of £8.25 per hour or £9.40 if you are working in London.