The draft National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 have now been published by the Government and will come into force on 6 April 2015. The Regulations will consolidate the 28 (!) existing statutory instruments in place and hopefully make the law a little easier to navigate.
The Government is taking a very strong stance with employers who do not comply with the national minimum wage. It is important to be aware of the potential repercussions of non-compliance:
- The Government will have the ability to “name and shame” employers who break national minimum wage regulations and this is likely to lead to more extensive publication in the media.
- Employers found to be breaking the law will have to pay arrears of wages at the current minimum wage rate and could face financial penalties of up to £20,000.
- More serious cases could result in employers being prosecuted.
- Employers will have only 28 days to appeal against a Notice of Underpayment. If they do not appeal or unsuccessfully appeal, the Government will consider naming them under the “name and shame” scheme.
The current national minimum wage rates are:
- Adult rate (21 and over): £6.50 per hour
- 18 to 20 year olds: £5.13 per hour
- 16 to 17 year olds: £3.79 per hour
- Apprentices: £2.73 per hour. The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 and over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the national minimum wage for their age as set out above.