Minimum wage increases today: Is your business up to date?

Anyone 21 years-old and above will now get £6.19 an hour, up from £6.08, but the £4.98 rate for 18-20 year-olds has been frozen as has the £3.68 an hour for workers above school leaving age but under 18. The rate for apprentices has increased 5p to £2.65 an hour.

The 11p increase for those over 21 was announced in March but comes into affect today. Businesses face fines of over £5,000 and criminal procedures should they fail to meet the requirements, so spread the word and let other small business owners know.

This 1.8% raise is lower than the typical rise in earnings and the current rate of inflation, which is 2.9%. The news hasn't been welcomed by trade unions who feel a bigger increase in pay is needed.

'While we are pleased that government has rejected calls of some employers to freeze the minimum wage for adult workers and apprentices, these increases are still far below inflation and will leave the lowest paid facing a real terms cut," said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber

"Today's rate increases do not do enough to help hard-pressed families. We need a bolder increase next year otherwise the real incomes of minimum wage workers will continue to fall, along with consumer demand."

The news is bittersweet for small businesses. No business owner wants to see their bottom line increase because of enforced salary hikes, but at least the rise was not more severe, as it could have been were it in line with inflation.

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