National minimum wage

Susie MunroEditor's message: The national minimum wage has been a key policy area for successive governments since its introduction in 1999, with the current Conservative administration committing to future increases that it says will see the wages of the lowest paid increase "faster than average".

The national minimum wage is enforced through a combination of financial penalties for non-payment and a policy of "naming and shaming" - the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy publicises cases where employers have deliberately breached the national minimum wage laws.

Even if the rates that you pay appear to be significantly higher than the national minimum wage, you should still check that you are not inadvertently breaching the law. Be aware, for example, that a salary-sacrifice arrangement might bring an employee's pay below the relevant national minimum wage rate.

The level of the minimum wage is reviewed each year. This year, the rates increased on 1 April, rather than 1 October as was previously the case. Uprating will take place on 1 April each year from now on.

Susie Munro, senior employment law editor

New and updated

  • The national minimum wage

    Type:
    Employment law manual

    Updated to reflect that the Government has published its national minimum wage Low Pay Commission remit.

  • How HR can help in a tough financial climate

    Date:
    31 August 2017
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    With an estimated one in eight workers living in poverty and many employees feeling the squeeze of below-inflation pay awards, how can HR support them to make the best of their money, asks Steve Herbert?

  • Date:
    21 August 2017
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Earlier this year it was reported that John Lewis set aside £36 million to compensate for a potential national minimum wage breach. As the Government releases its latest list of organisations owing wages, how can employers avoid the same trap? Fiona Rushforth and Katie Whitford of law firm Wedlake Bell explain.

  • Argos tops HMRC's latest list of national minimum wage offenders

    Date:
    17 August 2017
    Type:
    News

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published its latest list of employers that have failed to comply with national minimum wage laws, with a record £1.9 million to be handed out in compensation for loss of pay.

  • Pay self-employed workers the national minimum wage, says thinktank

    Date:
    5 July 2017
    Type:
    News

    Certain self-employed workers should be paid the minimum wage, according to recommendations by the Resolution Foundation.

  • Case round-up

    Date:
    1 July 2017
    Type:
    Law reports

    Kirsti Laird is senior associate at Charles Russell Speechlys. She rounds up the latest rulings.

  • Date:
    23 June 2017
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Even though the national minimum wage has been with us for over 18 years, some employers - including household names - still manage to break the rules and receive some quite embarrassing publicity as a result.

  • Low Pay Commission consults on national minimum wage

    Date:
    26 May 2017
    Type:
    Consultations

    The Low Pay Commission consults on the national minimum wage to assist it in compiling its report for the Government on future upratings of the national minimum wage.

  • Podcast: National minimum wage

    Date:
    19 May 2017
    Type:
    Audio and video

    In this week's podcast, we explain the basics of the national minimum wage and highlight some of the pitfalls for employers.

  • Non-guaranteed hours could command higher minimum wage

    Date:
    18 April 2017
    Type:
    News

    Companies that want to employ people on zero hours contracts could face a hike in the minimum wage rate, the author of a review into modern working practices has proposed.