Minimum wage rises for two million workers

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Around two million of the UK's lowest-paid workers will get a pay rise from Thursday as the minimum wage goes up.

Around two million of the UK’s lowest-paid workers will get a pay rise from Thursday as the minimum wage goes up.

The National Living Wage will rise 2.2% to £8.91, the equivalent of over £345 a year for a full-time employee.

It will also be given to 23 and 24-year-olds for the first time, not just those aged 25 and over.

Statutory rates for apprentices and those aged 18-22 will also rise, along with the voluntary “Real Living Wage”.

However, hundreds of thousands of low paid workers on furlough will see no uplift at all after they were excluded.

Ministers said the increases to minimum wages would particularly benefit workers in sectors such as retail, hospitality and cleaning and maintenance.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would be “a welcome boost to families right across the UK”.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng urged “all workers” to check their pay packets to ensure they were “getting what they are entitled to, and remind employers of their duty to pay the correct wage”.

Minimum wage increases from 1 April:

  • From £8.72 to £8.91 an hour for workers over the age of 23
  • From £8.20 to £8.36 for those aged 21-22
  • From £6.45 to £6.56 for 18 to 20-year-olds
  • From £4.55 to £4.62 for under-18s
  • From £4.15 to £4.30 for apprentices

The voluntary Real Living Wage will rise to £10.85 an hour in London and £9.50 outside the capital, but only a small minority of employers have signed up to pay it.

The foundation promoting it warned there was still a “substantial gap” between the statutory rates and one based on the actual cost of living.

Furloughed miss out

Much of the UK’s retail and hospitality industries remain closed due to Covid, meaning many of the lowest paid workers are on furlough and will miss out on a pay rise.

They will continue to get 80% of their usual income, based on pre-pandemic rates for the minimum wage.

Around 800,000 of the lowest paid workers were on furlough in February, according to the House of Commons Library.

The government said furloughed workers who returned to work after 1 April would move onto the new minimum wage rates for hours worked.

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