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National minimum wage increases

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The new national minimum wage increase came into force on 1 October 2014. So if you currently pay your staff the national minimum wage you will need to revise your wages accordingly.

What is the new national minimum wage?

The new rates are as follows:

  • The standard (adult) rate (workers aged 21 and over) will rise to £6.50 per hour.
  • The development rate (workers aged between 18 and 20) will rise to £5.13 per hour.
  • The young workers rate (workers aged under 18 but above school leaving age who are not apprentices) will rise to £3.79 per hour.
  • The rate for certain apprentices (those under 19 years of age or those aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship) will rise to £2.73 per hour.

Whilst this sounds straightforward, there can be complications with work experience students and ‘interns’

How can you stay the right side of the law with the national minimum wage?

Here’s a quick checklist to help you:

  • Make sure you pay the national minimum wage at the correct rate to all employees entitled to it. Check with your payroll department to ensure that all employees’ are receiving the national minimum wage or above.
  • Identify any work experience students or ‘interns’ in your organisation and assess the type of work they are asked to perform whilst they are at your organisation.  If they are doing ‘proper’ work, the national minimum wage may apply.
  • Depending on the outcome of the assessment above, it may be that you need to re-evaluate your organisation’s strategy in relation to taking on work experience students and ‘interns’.  This may include evaluating the type of work given to them or whether your organisation wishes to continue with such schemes.
  • Consider keeping records of agreements that the organisation makes with the work experience student or ‘intern’, the tasks they are asked to perform and the hours they are asked to work. This will be a useful “paper-trail” if they attempt to bring a claim against you for failure to pay them the national minimum wage.

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