Employers urged to prepare for minimum wage change

New national pay rates come into effect on 1 October

The national minimum wage is set to change from next Tuesday 1 October, and the CIPD says that employers are being urged to make sure they pay their employees the correct rate.

Last year there were 500 employment tribunals concerning the national minimum wage, and HM Revenue & Customs also identified 736 employers who had failed to pay the legal minimum, according to figures from Acas.

From 1 October, the new minimum wage rates for workers will be:

  • £6.31 for people aged 21 years and over;
  • £5.03 for people aged 18 to 20 years old;
  • £3.72 for people aged 16 to 17 years old;
  • £2.68 for apprentices under 19; and
  • £2.68 for apprentices 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

A new change will also come into force for agricultural and horticultural workers in England who are hired after 1 October 2013. These new workers will be covered by national minimum wage rates rather than the Agricultural Wages Order 2012.

Agricultural workers already employed before 1 October will still be entitled to the same terms and conditions set under their employment contract and the order. 

Meanwhile, employees in this sector in Scotland will continue to be covered by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board. In Wales, the current arrangements remain until a pending ruling by the Supreme Court.

Acas chair Ed Sweeney said: “Employers have a legal duty to pay the national minimum wage or they risk getting prosecuted if they refuse to pay it. 

“Most employers should be aware of the changes taking place from 1 October but the earlier you seek advice about any concerns you have about employee wages then the more likely you are to be able to avoid the cost, stress and time involved in an employment tribunal.”

Acas have also launched a new online tool to help employers and employees calculate the right minimum wage payments.