The Government’s National Living Wage was introduced on 1 April 2016 for all working people aged 25 and over, and is set at £7.20 per hour. The current National Minimum Wage for those under the age of 25 will continue to apply, currently £6.70 per hour.

Who will be entitled to the National Living Wage?

Generally all those who are covered by the National Minimum Wage, and are 25 years old and over, will be covered by the National Living Wage these include:

  • employees
  • most workers and agency workers
  • casual labourers
  • agricultural workers
  • apprentices who are aged 25 and over and who have completed their first year of apprenticeship

The rates per hour for the National Minimum Wage from 1 April are:

  • £7.20 (the “National Living Wage”) for workers aged 25 years and above
  • £6.70 for workers aged 21 years or over, but under 25 years
  • £5.30 for workers aged 18 years or over, but under 21 years
  • £3.87 for a worker who is aged under 18 years
  • £3.30 for apprentices aged 16 to 18 years and those aged 19 years and over who are in their first year

United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) welcomes the new National Living Wage but estimates that in order to address the existing under-funding of home care and implement the National Living Wage, requires an increase of funding of at least £753 million from councils and the NHS in the first year alone.

In recent months UKHCA has been working to ensure that councils in England, Wales, Scotland and the social care trusts in Northern Ireland have received information about the need to ensure their rates enable providers to comply with the National Minimum Wage. They are also providing evidence to the Department of Health where councils in England are using their new powers to increase council tax by 2% for social care, but not increasing rates paid to providers. UKHCA is planning a large-scale Freedom of Information Act enquiry across the UK to check the prices councils and trusts are paying from April onwards.

UKHCA have provided members with information and produced a National Living Wage tool kit to help them understand the regulations. The tool kit is available from their website here.

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has started an important consultation on what the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) should be from April 2017. To find out out how to get involved, you can visit the Government website here.