Minimum wage rises to £6.50 per hour

The national minimum wage has risen by 19p to £6.50 per hour as of 1 October 2014.

The rate applies to anyone aged 21 or over. All other rates have also risen, with workers aged 18-20 now earning at least £5.13 per hour, workers aged 16-17 on at least £3.79 per hour and apprentices on a minimum of £2.73 per hour.

The government has faced criticism in recent years for failing to ensure that all workers are being paid at least the national minimum wage.

It was revealed that HMRC identified 736 employers who had failed to pay the minimum from 2012 to 2013. This equated to an illegal underpayment of £3.9m in wages to more than 26,500 workers.

The government reacted by loosening the regulations on naming and shaming companies found guilty of not paying the minimum. It’s hoped that the bad publicity will act as a deterrent for future offenders.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged that he will raise the minimum wage a further £1.50 by the end of his term if he is elected Prime Minister, which means it could reach £8 per hour by 2020.

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