National Living Wage: Everything You Need to Know

The National Living Wage is a little complicated in the UK, as it changes between ages and every April. Here is a guide to help you understand the National Living Wage.

    The cost of living crisis is making it difficult to make ends meet for many people across the UK. With almost everything rising in price, people’s wages are having to stretch more and more. But what is the National Living Wage, and is it enough for your employees to survive on?

    In this post, Guardian Support looks at the UK National Living Wage from an employer’s perspective. Keep reading to find out what the National Living Wage is, if it’s different from the minimum wage, and how we can help your business to be compliant.

    What is the National Living Wage?

    The National Living Wage is the legally required minimum hourly wage that can be paid to employees for their work. In the UK, this figure differs between ages. The National Living Wage also changes at the beginning of April every year.

    The National Living Wage

    Here are the National Living Wages for the different ages from April 2022 – 2023 and April 2023 – 2024.

    National Living Wage 2022 – 2023

    National Living Wage for Apprentice: £4.81 an hour

    National Minimum Wage for Under 18: £4.81 an hour

    National Minimum Wage for 18 – 20: £6.83 an hour

    National Minimum Wage for 21 – 22: £9.18 an hour 

    National Living Wage for 23 and over: £9.50 an hour

    National Living Wage 2023 – 2024

    National Living Wage for Apprentice: £5.28 an hour

    National Minimum Wage for Under 18: £5.28 an hour

    National Minimum Wage for 18 – 20: £7.49 an hour

    National Minimum Wage for 21 – 22: £10.18 an hour

    National Living Wage for 23 and over: £10.42 an hour

    What is the Difference Between National Living Wage & National Minimum Wage?

    Quite simply, the National Minimum Wage is the lowest wage an individual over school leaving age and under the age of 23 can earn. The National Living Wage, on the other hand, is the minimum that an adult from the age of 23 and above can earn. 

    The idea behind this difference in pay is that as we age, we have more financial responsibilities and, therefore, more bills to pay. People above the age of 23 are also increasingly likely to have financial dependents as they start to have children and their parent’s age out of the workforce.

    Is the National Living Wage Enough to Live on?

    The purpose of work, for the worker, is to be able to afford to live. A wage should enable the employee to pay for food, water, a home, electricity, and other utility bills. If they cannot afford these basic necessities, even people with full-time jobs will not be able to avoid poverty.

    With the cost of living crisis seeing prices rise across the board, the National Living Wage has been determined by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) to be too low. The LWF, taking into account the rapid rise of inflation, calculated that an extra £1 an hour should be added to wages and an extra 90p for those who reside in London. 

    The London living wage is higher than in the rest of the country, as rent and other basics are more expensive here.

    The wage determined by the LWF is considered the real living wage and is applicable to all ages. So if you want to ensure that your employees can really live off of their salary without feeling constant financial stress, this is what they should be paid.

    How Can Guardian Support Help Your Business With Living Wage?

    If you need some support in complying with the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage, then we are here to help you. Our talented HR consultants have many years of experience when dealing with salary and complying with changing laws, and we can support you in this area too.

    If you want to know more about how we can help keep your business compliant in this or any other area, contact us here, or call us on 0845 874 4073.

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