National Living Wage increases; age threshold lowered to 23

Photo: DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images

The increase to the National Living Wage (NLW) and other rates of the National Minimum Wage has come into force today (1 April).

National Living Wage will rise 2.2 per cent from £8.72 to £8.91, and be given to 23 and 24-year-olds for the first time, as the age threshold has been lowered from 25 to 23 years old.

“The National Minimum and Living Wages have increased every year since they were introduced, supporting the lowest paid, and despite the challenges we’ve faced recently, this year will be no different,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

The government said around two million workers will benefit from the increase in the rates.

“This increase will help millions of families in every corner of the country, while supporting businesses as we prepare to safely reopen our economy and build back better from the pandemic,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.

“I’d urge all workers to check their pay packet to ensure they’re getting what they are entitled to, and remind employers of their duty to pay the correct wage.”

The National Minimum Wage rates, which now apply to those from school leaving age to 22, will have smaller increases in recognition of the risks to youth employment which the current economic situation poses.

The government added that it is committed to the target of the NLW reaching two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, as the Low Pay Commission in last October have not recommended any change to the target, citing uncertainties over the long-term economic outlook.

The commission has earlier considered applying the ‘emergency brake’ – recommending the government to review its target or timeframe as a result of any emerging risks – on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rates are as follows:

Rate from April 2020 Rate from April 2021 Increase
National Living Wage £8.72 £8.91 2.2%
21-22 Year Old Rate £8.20 £8.36 2.0%
18-20 Year Old Rate £6.45 £6.56 1.7%
16-17 Year Old Rate £4.55 £4.62 1.5%
Apprentice Rate £4.15 £4.30 3.6%
Accommodation Offset £8.20 £8.36 2.0%