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 its commitment to setting rates in line with Low Pay Commission recommendations, to be "set as high as possible without causing unemployment effects".
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. In 2017, 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.
Clio Springer, senior employment law editor
Updated to include information on the Low Pay Commission's 2018 consultation.
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Budget fashion retailers Primark and Sports Direct have topped the latest list of employers to be named and shamed by the Government for failing to pay workers the national minimum wage.
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Updated to include the new rates of the national minimum wage in force from 1 April 2018.
Updated to reflect the new rates of the national minimum wage in force from 1 April 2018.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to the national minimum wage.