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It applies to nearly all workers and sets hourly rates below which pay must not be allowed to fall. It helps business by ensuring companies will be able to compete on the basis of quality of the goods and services they provide and not on low prices based predominantly on low rates of pay. The rates set are based on the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission.
The minimum wage is a legal right which covers almost all workers above compulsory school leaving age. There are different minimum wage rates for different groups of workers as follows:
It is important to note that these new rates only apply to pay reference periods beginning on or after the date they came into law.
From 1 October 2006, the Employment Equality (Age) regulations abolished the Older Workers Development Rate and remove the age limit on the apprenticeship exemption.
The Government accepted the Low Pay Commission's recommendations for a new rate for 16 and 17 year olds (above compulsory school leaving age)* in their 2004 report.
£3.00 per hour from 1 October 2004. This increased to £3.30 in October 2006 and £3.40 on 1 October 2007.
NB: 16 and 17 year old apprentices are exempt from the young workers rate.
*Compulsory School Age
For further information or if you think you are being underpaid, call the minimum wage helpline on 0845 6000 678
To check on how the National Minimum Wage applies to you (or your staff), telephone the National Minimum Wage Helpline on 0845 6000 678. This is also the number to ring if you think you are being underpaid and wish to make a complaint. All complaints about underpayment of the National Minimum Wage are treated in the strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous if they wish to do so.
If you have an unanswered question on general policy you can email the national minimum wage policy team here at BERR. However, queries about the application of the national minimum wage or about individual cases should be directed to the helpline.
BERR is considering the position of Councils under their statutory powers to provide social housing. We are considering an amendment to our regulations to put beyond doubt the position of Councils where they provide social housing to their workers. The aim is to clarify that the accommodation offset is not applied where councils provide social housing to their workers.