Employers are being counselled to plan for the changes in the minimum wage rate, which is set to increase Tuesday 1st October.

According to figures from Acas, HM Revenue & Customs identified over 700 employers that had failed to pay the legal minimum pay rate and there were 500 employment tribunals regarding the national minimum wage last year.

With effect from 1st October, workers are entitled to the following new minimum wage rates: 
  • 21 years and over: £6.31
  • 18-20 years old: £5.03
  • 16-17 years old: £3.72
  • Apprentices under 19: £2.68
  • Apprentices 19 and over, during their first year: £2.68. 

The changes will also affect horticultural and agricultural workers throughout England hired after 1st October 2013. These individuals will be paid based on the national minimum wage instead of the Agricultural Wages Order 2012. Those employed prior to 1st October will remain entitled to the terms and conditions set under their existing employment contracts.

“Employers have a legal duty to pay the national minimum wage or they risk getting prosecuted if they refuse to pay it,” explains Ed Sweeney, chair of Acas.

Hiring managers and employers can avoid the stress, cost and time associated with an employment tribunal if they act now to deal with any concerns regarding employee wages.

Acas has launched an online tool to assist both employees and employers to calculate the correct minimum wage payments