Editor'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 stating that rate increases form an important part of its agenda to create a "higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society".
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
In this week's podcast, we explain the basics of the national minimum wage and highlight some of the pitfalls for employers.
Updated to include information on the Low Pay Commission's 2017 consultation on the national minimum wage.
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.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced a "real living wage" rate of £10 from 2020, far outstripping the Government's national living wage of £7.50 per hour, if Labour wins the next general election.
Updated to include the rates of the national minimum wage effective from 1 April 2017.
Updated to reflect the increase to national minimum wage rates, effective from 1 April 2017.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to the national minimum wage.