The announcement of the level at which the national minimum wage is to be set for 2009/2010 – coming into effect from 1 October 2009 – is now expected to be made during “the week beginning 11 May 2009″. This is according to a representative of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) (external website), speaking to XpertHR earlier today (Friday 24 April 2009). It would consequently appear that a low or zero increase to the national minimum wage is ever more likely.
Earlier this week, Budget 2009 (PDF format, 2.52MB) stated that:
The LPC will publish their recommendations for October 2009 national minimum wage rates in May 2009.
The LPC spokesperson confirmed to XpertHR that the 2009 LPC report will be delivered to the Government on Friday 1 May 2009, with the Government’s announcement of the national minimum wage rate for 2009/2010 “understood” to be scheduled for “the week beginning 11 May 2009″.
As we reported in January 2009, this year’s national minimum wage decision has already been delayed by two months from its usual schedule. We noted at the time that:
This suggests that the eventual 2009 national minimum wage increase could be lower than those seen in recent years. [...] Delaying the announcement of this year’s increase by three months, while keeping the October 2009 implementation date unchanged, effectively cuts employers’ preparation time significantly. This suggests that the burden on employers’ paybills of meeting their national minimum wage obligations may not be severe.
Today’s update on the possible national minimum wage 2009/2010 announcement date will mean that affected employers will have only around four-and-a-half months to prepare.
And with the economy seemingly in freefall, unemployment rocketing and retail prices index (RPI) inflation plunging into negative territory, it appears increasingly probable that those covered by the national minimum wage can expect at best a minimal increase, at worst (but arguably more likely) a freeze in the statutory pay floor.