Pay boost: minimum wage rises for young workers in April 2024

The UK government has announced a substantial 12.4% minimum wage increase that will impact the lives of those aged 21 and over.

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The UK Government is ushering in a positive change in employment and wages, especially for the younger workforce. 

This development happens annually on 1 April of each year and stems from recommendations by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) who are dedicated to protecting the wages and living standards of the lowest-paid workers. 

Let's delve into the details and understand what this means for this youngest working demographic.

What's changing?

From April 2024, the minimum wage is poised to increase to £11.44 per hour for workers over the age of 21.

This amounts to a 12.4% for over-21s which is a £1,800 raise for full-time workers, and a 9.8% increase for over-23s which is an annual £1,989 raise for full-time workers on average.

An estimated 2.7 million individuals will benefit from this boost, signifying the most substantial increment in the national minimum wage to date. This will be the largest-ever increase in the minimum wage in cash terms, as it is the first time it has increased by more than £1.

The figures: who's affected?

Age groupCurrent WageNew wage (from April 2024)
23 and older£10.42£11.44
21 and older£10.18£11.44
18-20£7.49£8.60
Under 18 and Apprentices£5.28£6.40

Minimum vs living wage: who qualifies?

The national minimum wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to no matter what living, studying or working conditions they are in – while the national living wage is something workers get if they're over 23, and relates to the estimated costs of living. 

It does not matter how small an employer is, they still have to pay the correct minimum wage, and contracts for payments below the minimum wage are not legally binding. This includes if you're only working part-time, hired for even just one day, or an apprentice over the age of 19. 

The outside-London UK Living Wage is set at £12 per hour, while the London Living Wage stands at £13.15 per hour. Annually calculated by the Resolution Foundation and supervised by the Living Wage Commission, these figures are derived from the most reliable evidence reflecting living standards in the UK and London.

Exclusions and exceptions

The national minimum wage doesn't encompass the self-employed, voluntary workers, or family members contributing to household chores within their shared residence and employment.

Discrepancies and the real living wage

While this hike is commendable, Katherine Chapman of the Real Living Wage Foundation comments:

“A rise in the statutory national minimum wage from next April is welcome news for low-paid workers, but it still falls short of the voluntary real Living Wage, which is £12 per hour in the UK and £13.15 per hour for workers in London. 

Despite tough economic times, it has been heartening to see record numbers of businesses join our movement, and we'd encourage other organisations who can, to make the Living Wage commitment too.”

The upcoming minimum wage increase carries with it both promise and debate. While it sets a new benchmark, it also raises questions about closing the gap between statutory minimums and the true cost of living.

As April 2024 approaches, this wage boost paints a promising picture for young workers. This will not only impact individuals' pockets but also potentially reshape the employment landscape, making it imperative for businesses and organisations to adapt to these changes for a more fair and equitable workforce.

With the aim to uplift living standards and provide a more sustainable income, this increase signifies a step towards financial empowerment for a significant portion of the workforce in the UK.

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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