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New minimum wage rates in force

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More than a million low paid employees across the UK will get an extra £14 in their pay packet for a standard 35 hour week, with the new National Minimum Wage rates coming into force.

The increases mean that the hourly rate for adults aged 22 and over will increase from £3.70 to £4.10 – equal to £14 more for a 35 hour week or an extra £728 per year.

The youth rate, paid to 18-21 year-olds, will go up from £3.20 per hour to £3.50, equal to an extra £10.50 a week or an additional £546 a year.

More than 70 per cent of those benefiting from the uprating will be women. The Low Pay Commission has concluded that the minimum wage has had the greatest impact on women’s pay since the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970.

Employees to particularly benefit from the today’s increases will be those in the wholesale, retail and motor trades, health and social work and the catering sector.

Welcoming the new rates, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said, “Today’s increases in the minimum wage will make a real difference to the pay packets of nearly one and a half million workers in every part of the country. The Government it is committed to delivering decent minimum standards in the workplace – not just because they’re good for business, but because it is the right thing do.”

“As well as helping the low paid, the minimum wage is also good news for decent employers, as it prevents unscrupulous bosses using poverty wages to undercut their competitors. Being a good employer makes good business sense. The increased rates will have a negligible effect on the total UK wage bill. According to the annual report on employers’ compliance with the minimum wage published last July, the number of complaints about rogue employers not paying the minimum wage is also falling.

Employees and employers can check entitlements to the minimum wage through the National Minimum Wage Helpline on 0845 6000 678, or by using the interactive website – www.tiger.gov.uk – which provides a decision tree and ready-reckoners to help them assess their entitlements and requirements.

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