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What Is The Difference Between The National Minimum Wage And The National Living Wage?

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winkyridg | 18:40 Tue 03rd Mar 2020 | Jobs & Education
6 Answers
Ive been on the .Gov website and i find it a tad confusing, it says The National Living wage for over 25's is £8.72 but for all other age groups it says National Minimum wage, not Living Wage, does every employer in the Country have to legally pay every worker over 25 at least £8.72 an hour or is that just a guideline?
Many Thanks


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Only the National Minimum wage is a compulsory minimum. Some employers use the so-called Living Wage but that's their choice
Scrap that. Maybe I missed something and all over 25s are now entitled to the Living Wage. AT first glance the wording seems ambiguous
The Citizens Advice Bureaus suggests the Higher Living Wage is effectively the Minimum Wage for over 25s

The site says
The minimum wage a worker should get depends on their age and if they’re an apprentice.
The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to. The National Living Wage is higher than the National Minimum Wage - workers get it if they’re over 25.
It does not matter how small an employer is, they still have to pay the correct minimum wage.

I think then that over 25s are entitled to the higher figure
From 1999 to 2010, an employee needed to be at least 22 years of age in order to qualify for the National Minimum Wage. The qualify age was reduced to 21 years from October 2010.

In his 2015 budget speech, George Osborne announced that from 2016 a higher minimum payment would apply to employees who were at least 25 years old. He called that higher payment the National Living Wage. It's theoretically separate to the National Minimum Wage (in that the Government could decide to raise one but not the other in a particular year) but for enforcement purposes the two are the same. (i.e. an employee faces the same penalties for failing to pay the NLW as he would for failing to pay the NMW).

The current NLW is £8.21 per hour. The £8.72 rate referred to in your question applies from an employee's first full pay period which is wholly after the end of this month. (e.g. if an employee works from Monday to Friday, the MLW that applies for the week running from 30 March to 03 April is £8.21 per hour throughout. It then becomes £8.72 per hour from the week commencing 6 April).
The figure for a living wage ought not depend on government whim. One can either live on an amount paid for a full time job, or one can not.

A minimum wage should equate to at least a living wage, otherwise the employer is simply abusing the employee. (And probably expecting the taxpayer to make up the wage they're refusing to pay.)

To have the living figure greater than the minimum figure is putting the cart before the horse.
I think the government might say there is a difference as the living wage applies to over 25s who, on the whole, will have different living wage requirements to say an 18 year old who may still be living at home. Whether the figure should start at below 25 I'm not sure but I think they are two different things. Of course employers will generally pay more than both figures if the employee has skills that are in demand and can command a higher wage

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