Millions get pay rise from today as National Living Wage increase comes into effect

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Millions of workers in all parts of the UK will receive a pay increase from today, as the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage uplift comes into effect.

The rate rises include a 2.2% increase in the National Living Wage to £8.91, the equivalent of more than £345 extra per year for someone working full-time.

And for the first time since it came into effect in 2016 more younger people will be eligible for the National Living Wage, as the age threshold will be lowered from 25 to 23 years old.

The rise means someone working full time on the National Living Wage from April 2021 will be taking home £5,400 more annually than they were in 2010.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The National Minimum and Living Wages have increased every year since they were introduced, supporting the lowest paid, and despite the challenges we’ve faced recently, this year will be no different. That’s why we’re providing a well-earned pay rise to 2 million people, which will be a welcome boost to families right across the UK. To make sure the next generation isn’t left behind, everyone over 23 years old will also now be eligible.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “In this toughest of years, we’re protecting workers by putting more money in the pockets of the UK’s lowest paid. To support our next generation of workers, we’ve also lowered the age threshold for the Living Wage to 23 – ensuring even more people have the security of a decent wage. This increase will help millions of families in every corner of the country, while supporting businesses as we prepare to safely reopen our economy and build back better from the pandemic. I’d urge all workers to check their pay packet to ensure they’re getting what they are entitled to, and remind employers of their duty to pay the correct wage.”

From today, those over the age of 23 are eligible for the National Living Wage. The National Minimum Wage applies to those from school leaving age to 22. The uplift will particularly benefit workers in sectors such as retail, hospitality and cleaning and maintenance.

In full, the increases from April 1 2021 are:

  • National Living Wage (23+) has increased 2.2%, from £8.72 to £8.91
  • National Minimum Wage (21-22) has increased 2%, from £8.20 to £8.36
  • National Minimum Wage (18-20) has increased 1.7% from £6.45 to £6.56
  • National Minimum Wage (under 18) has increased 1.5% from £4.55 to £4.62
  • Apprentice Rate has increased 3.6% from £4.15 to £4.30

Industry reaction

Bryan Sanderson, Chair of the Low Pay Commission, said: “This has been an extraordinary year for all of us, but particularly for minimum wage workers, many of whom have worked throughout the pandemic in frontline roles or have worked in the sectors that have been hardest hit by lockdown measures.

“This week’s increase in the NLW is our first step towards the Government’s target of two-thirds of median earnings. It is a real-terms increase, meaning that an hour’s work can buy more than it could last year, at the start of the pandemic. The level of the new rate however also reflects the need to protect workers from job losses.

“Importantly, the NLW will now apply to workers aged 23 and over. This is an important change which is strongly endorsed by the Commission. Young people should be fairly rewarded for their work. We will seek to understand how young people’s pay and employment are affected by this in our consideration of a further reduction in the NLW age qualification to 21.”

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