The UK National Minimum Wage increase: April 2024

wage increase

The November 2023 announcement of a nearly 10% rise in the National Living Wage has sent shockwaves throughout the UK economy and workforce.

Bluestones Staffing is committed to ensuring our clients and candidates fully understand these imminent changes to minimum wage standards. Therefore, we’ve outlined exactly what the new minimum wage means in financially, which age groups are impacted, and key considerations for payroll budgeting and career planning.

Given the substantial increase driven by widespread pay growth, all organisations and individuals will need to adapt accordingly. Leveraging our extensive industry market expertise and extensive connections, we’re dedicated to helping our clients and candidates navigate this transition seamlessly.

Whether you are an employer determining new staffing costs or a job seeker qualifying for higher earnings, this overview explains the full scope of the changes and offers tailored guidance on managing the rise.

What are the key changes?

There are different levels of National Minimum Wage (NMW), depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice. 

Before 1st April 2024, the National Living Wage was for those aged 23 and over and the National Minimum Wage was for those of at least school-leaving age. Now, if you’re aged 21 and over, you’ll get the National Living Wage (NLW).

The hourly rates change on 1 April each year. The current rates are listed in the table below.

Group April 2024
21 and over £11.44 per hour
18 to 20 £8.60 per hour
Under 18 £6.40 per hour
Apprentice £6.40 per hour

National Insurance thresholds also went down in January 2024, from 12% to 10%.

What this means for clients

As employers ourselves, we understand the potential impact these mandatory wage increases can have on payroll and profits. To ensure a smooth transition for your organisation, we suggest taking the following steps:

Review budgets and make adjustments – Closely examine expenditures now to identify areas where costs can be optimised to accommodate higher wage outlays. 

Update contracts and payroll systems – If you haven’t already, ensure your employment policies and payment procedures are fully aligned with the new legal wage regulations. This avoids any downstream confusion or issues.

Communicate proactively with staff – Transparency regarding how this financially impacts the company and the rationale behind the change will build trust and boost morale. 

Re-evaluate hiring needs – Consider whether you may see lower applicant interest for certain roles due to broader industry impacts. Our recruiting teams can provide valuable support in sourcing candidates even in tight labour markets.

Leverage recruitment expertise – Given this period of flux, tap into Bluestones Staffing’s deep market insights on salary benchmarks and talent availability to set appropriate budgets.

What this means for candidates

As staunch advocates for employees and job seekers, we want to ensure our candidates fully understand how this significant wage increase can benefit them:

Know your rights – Employees over 21 are now entitled to earn at least £11.44 per hour under the new rules. In salary terms, this means that someone in a full-time permanent role working a 40-hour week will earn a gross annual salary of £23,795.20, up from £21,673.60. Verify with HR if you are unsure.

Reassess personal finances – With higher earnings, now is an ideal time to build up savings, pay down debt or consult a financial advisor to plan the optimal use of your extra funds.

Focus on professional development – Greater wages often come with greater expectations. Proactively seek out training and upskilling opportunities to remain competitive in your role or take on more responsibility.

Ask about benefits packages – Some employers may offset higher wages by reducing benefits offerings. Make sure you fully comprehend the complete compensation and advantages of any new role under consideration.

Contact us – Our teams are here to provide tailored support, advice and access to openings with employers implementing these elevated salary standards.

Bluestones Staffing

This National Living Wage increase aims to improve living standards for UK workers in the face of persistent inflation. As specialists serving both employers and job seekers, Bluestones Staffing is exceptionally well-equipped to guide clients and candidates through these changes. Contact us today to discuss how we can best support you in preparing.

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