National Living Wage and Minimum Wage increases – what you need to know

28 February 2024

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Anyone who is employed as an employee or worker must be paid the wage they are entitled to by law. Read more on the current NLW (National Living Wage) and NMW (National Minimum Wage) rates.

The UK Government is advised each year by the LPC (Low Pay Commission) on the level of the NLW and NMW each year. 

In 2023, it recommended to raise the National Living Wage to reach two thirds of median earnings by 2024. The recommendation was taken on board by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement in November 2023, and the NLW will increase to £11.44 from April 2024.

From this year, all workers over the age of 21 will also be able to receive the NLW. 

Living Wage vs. Minimum Wage – what's the difference?

The NLW rate is the minimum hourly rate that must by law be paid to all employees and workers over the age of 23 years. The NLW rate applicable from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025 will be £11.44.

Minimum wage rates applicable from 1 April 2024 are:

21 years and over 18-20 years old Under 18s Apprentice
£11.44 £8.60 £6.40 £6.40

Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they are either:

  • aged under 19
  • aged 19 or over and in the first year of apprenticeship

How can I check I'm paying the correct rate?

As an employer you need to be aware that NLW and NMW rates increased on 1 April 2024. You should ensure that workers are paid correctly according to the new rates.

Even if you are paying your workers at or above the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage, you could still be underpaying them. This can easily happen when an employer makes wage deductions or doesn’t pay for all time worked.

Take these simple steps to meet your legal responsibilities and avoid falling foul of the law:

  • You can check the new rates on the government's website at: GOV.UK | Check your pay
  • Identify which staff are eligible for the new rate.
  • Update the company payroll and communicate the changes to staff as soon as possible.
  • Call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 for advice and support to understand what you need to do to pay workers correctly. NFU members can also contact NFU Callfirst on 0370 845 8458 for employment advice.

Agricultural Wages Order

Additionally, The Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2024 came into force on 1 April 2024. It replaces the Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2023 and increases the minimum wage rates and allowances.

The new increased rates apply to all categories of agricultural workers and includes pay protection for any worker who may lose out as a result of earlier changes to the grading structure. Full details of the minimum rates of pay can be found on the Welsh government's website.

It is also important to remember that Agricultural Workers in England who were employed prior to 1 October 2013 will still benefit from the enhanced provisions contained within the Agricultural Wages Order 2012 if they are more generous that the NMW and unless they have subsequently agreed new terms and conditions.

This page was first published on 22 November 2023. It was updated on 28 February 2024.

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