National living wage to increase nearly 5% from April 2019

Christopher Jones/REX/Shutterstock

The national living wage, the statutory national minimum wage for those aged 25 and over, will increase 4.9% from 1 April 2019, from £7.83 to £8.21.

National minimum wage 2020

This article is now for reference only – to read about the 2020 national minimum wage and national living wage rates please follow this link…

Employers cautious over steep 2020 minimum wage rises

The Low Pay Commission (LPC), which recommended the increase, estimated that the increase will benefit around 2.4 million workers. Subject to sustained economic growth, the government’s aim is for the national living wage to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020.

Announcing the increase in the Budget in October, the chancellor Philip Hammond said: “From April [the National Living Wage] will rise again, handing a full-time worker a £690 annual pay increase.”

The Treasury says the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage worker will have increased by over £2,750 since the introduction of the NLW in April 2016.

The government accepted all of the LPC’s recommendations for the other national minimum wage to apply from 1 April 2019:

  • increasing the rate for 21- to 24-year-olds by 4.3% from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour;
  • increasing the rate for 18- to 20-year-olds by 4.2% from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour;
  • increasing the rate for 16- to 17-year-olds by 3.6% from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour;
  • increasing the rate for apprentices by 5.4% from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour; and
  • increasing the accommodation offset by 7.9% from £7.00 to £7.55.

In the coming months, the government will consult with the LPC and others on the LPC’s remit for 2020 onwards.

Bryan Sanderson, chair of the LPC, said: “The increase in the national living wage (NLW) to £8.21 in April 2019 will ensure a pay rise for the lowest-paid workers that exceeds both inflation and average earnings.

“Over the past year, the labour market has continued to perform well and the economy, while subdued, has met the criteria of ‘sustained growth’ set out in our remit for the NLW. We therefore recommended an increase in line with a path to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020.”

On current forecasts, the LPC estimates that the NLW will reach £8.62 in April 2020.

He added: “We recommended real-terms increases to the national minimum wage (NMW) rates for younger workers and apprentices, as the labour market conditions for these groups remain strong. These rates will continue to rise faster than both inflation and average earnings.

“We opted for smaller increases than we recommended last year because of slightly weaker labour market conditions for young people, combined with insufficient evidence to fully understand the impact of the largest increases in a decade implemented in April of this year. However, next year’s will still be some of the highest increases on record.”


Article originally published 29 October 2018, updated 20 February 2019

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31 Responses to National living wage to increase nearly 5% from April 2019

  1. Avatar
    D Tranter 7 Feb 2019 at 12:59 pm #

    I love this but in smaller businesses with limited income how do they expect it to be kept being paid, no help for business just demands , in most cases we are only just surviving and would love to pay more, but with the wages rising so do other things like food etc so everyone can keep up so no one is better off, way to kill off everything

    • Avatar
      Sausage n egg 10 Feb 2019 at 7:52 am #

      You are lucky you have workers with an attitude like that….

    • Avatar
      Slave 12 22 Feb 2019 at 4:17 pm #

      Why don’t you go back to the good old days and get slaves instead..? Like your workers have to survive and pay all their overheads too on peanuts. Wanna pay peanuts – employ monkees as they say… The trouble nowadays is employers want more and more work from employees for peanuts and don’t even appreciate the staff.. there’s two sayings:

      1. anyone can get any staff but keeping good staff is different matter.
      2. look after your staff and your staff will look after your business.

      Nowadays business only see employees as a number and not a person only interested in profit.. too many chiefs doing jack and not enough indians..

      • Avatar
        j phillips 13 Mar 2019 at 10:37 am #

        correct, they will continue to hire the least amount of staff, for peanuts, and the quality of work will decline, and the good staff wil leave.

      • Avatar
        Anne 18 Mar 2019 at 2:51 pm #

        We are a small supported living service for adults with a disability. We are paid by the council per hour of support. We have had no increase to that rate for what will be 4 years in April. In 2014 the govt (without warning) made businesses responsible for sick pay–which was a new cost. Then pensions were introduced and employers contributions have gone up every year. Thats before the increases in minimum wage.
        We have always paid well above minimum wage but the fact that we are being squeezed so badly means that we are now not far above it. We have always had a big response to any job adverts but now people can earn as much doing far less stressful jobs in more sociable hours, so we are starting to struggle.
        We certainly dont see our staff as ‘monkeys’ but as highly skilled, dedicated and very valued professionals.
        And no I am not making massive profits myself-I work very long hours for just under minimum wage!

        • Avatar
          Sarah 27 Mar 2019 at 2:11 pm #

          Quite so, we want to pay our staff a good rate of pay that reflects their value to our service and to the people they support – but the funding streams from local authorities are not keeping up with the new demands on social care employers. It’s why these services are now so vulnerable, with a lack of skilled carers and smaller businesses who can offer great, personalised care, are the first to suffer.

      • Avatar
        JOSH 1 Apr 2019 at 9:28 am #

        You don’t seem to know much about a business or how it runs so please don’t comment. You might want to look at town centres: so many closed shops, even big companies close down and go. You may ask why, too much tax, then your VAT, then you have your ridiculous rent (where landlords charge whatever they please). Then the council charges you at around 25% of rent you are paying for your rate, you have your fuel and water, insurance. You are left with nothing and then pay PEANUTS out of your savings that you saved working so hard and makes you wish that you could go back and get paid PEANUTS and be a bloody SLAVE. You have to make money to pay money.

      • Avatar
        Ross 3 Apr 2019 at 8:43 pm #

        What a load of rubbish.. You want to try and employ staff. I pay my staff very well and they are more than happy, hence they’ve been with me for 30+ years. What YOU don’t understand is that when you lift the minimum wage up, all your other employees ask for a rise to keep the gap the same. So guess what ? Wage bill & pension contribution goes up, not employer wages.. Why are we business owners ? Just to subsidise a work force ? Try it yourself, I’ll bet you change you mind..

      • Avatar
        Pumpkin 1 5 Apr 2019 at 4:07 pm #

        Slave 12. You haven’t the first clue what you are talking about.

    • Avatar
      Mark Conway 20 Mar 2019 at 5:26 pm #

      Any employer who cannot afford to pay staff should not be in business. £8.31 is actually poor considering the cost of living

    • Avatar
      Ross 3 Apr 2019 at 8:26 pm #

      To whom it may concern.

      Please can you help with the following concerns that I have, as an SME business owner.
      How are SME employers supposed to fund these constant wage increases ? We cannot increase our customer prices to afford this. My customers will either move business elsewhere or move abroad to the Far East / Asia. I have had to absorb price increases from my raw material suppliers, in certain instances for the past 10 years. Our profit is in our manufacturing processes, and we have to work on an extremely low margin. At this rate, the government are going to put SMEs out of business. Lifting the employee minimum wage and pension contributions has had a major effect on my business, with other employees in my business. They insist that the pay gap between semi-skilled and skilled workers should remain the same, so we have to increase their hourly rate to keep hold of key employees. On top of this, you need to take into account their overtime rates increase dramatically. Maybe whoever is responsible for this should put their houses or livelihoods on the line like I have done for the past 34 years, and start a business? I have invested in robotic machinery for the past 20 years. I will be investing even more to avoid employing any further staff, as I CAN’T afford it. Politicians have no idea how hard it is trying to keep your business afloat. Maybe OEM blue chip companies can sustain this? When will you start to consider SME employers that can’t? The manufacturing sector is extremely volatile and as I explained, we cannot lift our prices to counter your increases. Please stop this before you put thousands more employees on benefits.
      I look forward to your response. However, I am not confident that I will receive one.
      Ross Burns

  2. Avatar
    Angry 1 Mar 2019 at 9:36 pm #

    Slave 12 and Sausage n Egg, you’re talking through your backside!

    If you were working for less than half of the living wage and your lowest paid worker earns far more than you and can buy a bigger house etc, then you might understand what D Tranter is talking about. Not all employers are rich. An awful lot of small business owners are living hand to mouth just to keep the business going. I work 7 days a week, 18 hours a day and still earn less than any member of my staff. They are not the ones worrying about how they are going to pay the wage bill or the huge increase in rates, never mind the massive VAT bill.
    i do the same work as my staff as well as the managerial stuff.

    • Avatar
      Maserati65 6 Mar 2019 at 8:18 am #

      Angry, think you need to look at your business model.
      Working a 126hr week and earning less than your staff is
      not only bad for your welfare but also bank balance.
      Think you need to mange your time more effectively, just saying.

    • Avatar
      Ben 6 Mar 2019 at 1:35 pm #

      Then why don’t you quit the business and go for employment somewhere else? By working 18 hours a day you could be a rich man already. And I would not believe that somebody working for minimum wage would afford to buy ANY house… There is no bank who would give them credit and usually what they earn is just enough for rent and basic pleasures like food and train tickets…

    • Avatar
      Mac 13 Mar 2019 at 12:33 pm #

      If it’s that bad as you say give up your business and get a job with a better salary,simples.

    • Avatar
      shaun 13 Mar 2019 at 3:07 pm #

      you should probably stop running your business as it doesn’t sound very profitable at all..

  3. Avatar
    Maserati65 6 Mar 2019 at 8:14 am #

    As an employer in the cleaning industry for over 18 yrs, I also agree about paying staff a living wage or indeed more. The irony is to be able to do this, I must charge more for the services we provide, and guess what ….. people, busineses don’t want to pay more. Alway the cheaper option.
    The hypocrisy is unbelievable yet industry’s like mine that notoriously pay the minimum wage
    or less get slated for this. I would be delighted to pay my staff £9 or £10 per hour but guess what,
    It comes at a cost to the clients. Get real people 😡

    • Avatar
      Tori 13 Mar 2019 at 8:45 am #

      Exactly my problem. I run a Professional dog walking business, we tick all the boxes, insurance, BS , comprehensive training for the dog walkers, team leaders for support and backup, however, all this comes at a cost, including now, VAT. However, people would rather pay cash to the unemployed, uninsured person to walk their dog cheaper while claiming their Job seekers than us. We will be out of business before long and the dogs will either be left at home for long working days or out with uninsured people who we often mop up after now.

    • Avatar
      Ross 3 Apr 2019 at 9:06 pm #

      Well said Mas.. Hit the nail right on the head.. Wasting our breath though..

  4. Avatar
    Tori 13 Mar 2019 at 8:39 am #

    Increasing the minimum wage will mean increase in the income and the equivalent or more increase in the cost of living, however, the tax threshold will not increase by as much, so it will also mean an increase in tax that we pay, meaning the net money we receive will not increase by as much as the cost of living!

  5. Avatar
    sandy 13 Mar 2019 at 8:57 am #

    wow an increase of 38p! what can you buy for that

    • Avatar
      Allan Davidson 13 Mar 2019 at 4:33 pm #

      Sandy, 38p on base rate in some businesses is multiplied by OT Rates. Say 38p on a 40 hr week, + 10 hours at 1.5 and 5 at 2 based on a 52 week year = £1,814 per year. Say an additional cost to employer of 20% for ENI and WTD = £1,541. Say a small business has 60 staff on that rate the annual wage cost increases by £92,476 per year. Prices will not increase in line with the rise so, say the business made £80k profit last year and is unable to raise prices, that business, employing 60 staff will go bust and those staff will be out of job.

      • Avatar
        Ross 3 Apr 2019 at 9:00 pm #

        Well said Alan. They will never understand common sense though. The average employee wouldn’t understand corporation tax or other personal liabilities, If it smacked them around the face.. They just think that you lift your customers prices up.. I opt for technology, saves you a load of stress..

    • Avatar
      Ross 3 Apr 2019 at 9:08 pm #

      Go back to school then and then you might be able to command a better wage ?

  6. Avatar
    Ricky Shiels 13 Mar 2019 at 1:47 pm #

    I like the LPC’s projection that NLW will be £8.62 by April 2020 in spite of the Tory manifesto of 2016 promising £9.00 by 2020.
    This Government must think we have short memories.

  7. Avatar
    Paul 16 Mar 2019 at 1:13 am #

    We are a spending nation, pay more and people will spend more putting money back into businesses.

    • Avatar
      Anne 18 Mar 2019 at 2:56 pm #

      Yes, with pay rises people will spend more in shops, restaurants, leisure activities etc. But that doesnt help services for people with a disability. Councils wont give us more!

  8. Avatar
    Minimum effort 31 Mar 2019 at 6:59 am #

    Minimum wage, minimum work. That’s what it is and that’s what you pay for!

    • Avatar
      Ross 3 Apr 2019 at 8:51 pm #

      I wouldn’t employ you..

  9. Avatar
    margaret Scott 1 Apr 2019 at 10:13 pm #

    Can anyone help me out here?I work full time,and my minimum wage has increased from the 1st of April.Can my employer wait until October before they pay me the increase?

  10. Avatar
    Karl 7 Apr 2019 at 10:56 am #

    Do employers have to pay from the 1st April if your between paydays?