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October 1, 2010    

New minimum wage comes into force today

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by Kay Murchie

The UK minimum wage will rise by 13p (2%) to £5.93 an hour today and is set to benefit almost one million people, according to the Low Pay Commission.

The 13p an hour rise applies to workers aged 21 and over.

Meanwhile, the rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will increase by 9p to £4.92, while 16 and 17-year-olds will see a rise of 7p from £3.57 to £3.64 an hour.

Furthermore, there will be a new £2.50 hourly minimum wage for apprentices.

The increase is in accordance with a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission. However, it is far behind the retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation, which is used as the basis for many wage deals.

The minimum wage was introduced in 1999 by the Labour Government to put a floor under what employers could pay their staff.

The increase has been welcomed by unions and TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “This increase will put extra cash in the pockets of some of the UK’s lowest paid workers.”

Meanwhile, the Government is proposing to crackdown on employers who deliberately flout minimum wage laws.

Under a new scheme, the Government will publicly name and shame offenders from January 2011.

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