Employers must ensure they are paying staff at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW). The NMW and the NLW are the minimum legal amounts that employers must pay their workers.
The new NMW and NLW rates came into effect on 1 April 2023. The hourly rate for the NMW (for 21-22-year-olds) is £10.18 and for the NLW is £10.42. The NLW is the minimum hourly rate that must be paid to those aged 23 or over.
It is important that employers ensure they pay the necessary minimum wage rates as there are significant penalties for employers who are found to have paid workers less that they are entitled to by law. If an employee has been underpaid, the employer must pay any arrears without delay. There are penalties for non-payment of up to 200% of the amount owed. The penalties are reduced by 50% if all of the unpaid wages and 50% of the penalty are paid in full within 14 days.
The maximum fine for non-payment can be up to £20,000 per employee. Employers who fail to pay, face a 15-year ban from being a company director as well as being publicly named and shamed.