Minimum wage increase 2022: Key dates you need to know – and how much it rises by

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The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the lowest legal rate of pay for UK workers and is enforceable by law. Rates are set to increase in April, following a recommendation by the Low Pay Commission to increase the NMW to £9.50 per hour. An increase in minimum wage will benefit the living standards of millions of low-paid workers – but what else do you need to know about the upcoming change?

What is the National Minimum Wage?

Since 2015, the National Minimum Wage has been known as the National Living Wage.

Having first been set in 1998 under the Labour government, the NMW has acted as a safety net for low-paid workers to access a fair hourly pay-rate.

All UK workers aged between 16-22 are entitled to the rate, though the exact figure varies between each age group.

The lowest minimum rate is currently set at just £4.30 per hour for Apprentices, with the highest rate set at £8.91 for those aged 23 and over (National Living Wage age).

According to gov.uk, the National Living Wage will rise by 6.6 percent, taking the existing £8.91 hourly minimum, to £9.50.

When will the increase come into effect?

The new National Living Wage rate will come into effect from April 1, 2022.

This is five days before the new tax year begins on April 6, allowing workers to reap the rewards of the offset.

UK workers aged 21-22 will benefit from the sharpest increase of 9.8 percent.

According to gov.uk, the new NMW rates are as follows:

  • National Living Wage – £9.50 (6.6 percent rise)
  • 21-22 year old rate – £9.18 (9.8 percent rise)
  • 18-20 year old rate – £6.83 (4.1 percent rise)
  • 16-17 year old rate – £4.81 (4.1 percent rise)
  • Apprentice Rate – £4.81 (11.9 percent rise)
  • Accommodation Offset – £8.70 (4.1 percent rise)

Why is NMW rising?

The increase comes as part of the Government’s target of a national living wage set at two-thirds of median earnings by 2024.

In October 2021, the Low Pay Commission (LPC) put forward the recommended hike in wages following new data on the UK’s recovering economy.

Key findings of the report found that the Government should increase the NMW and NLW if they are to achieve their 2024 target.

The LPC report also found that the lowering of the NLW age from 25 to 23 went smoothly and that it should be further reduced to 21 by 2024.

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What are the current National Minimum Wage rates?

Since the last increase in April 2021, the UK’s national base-wage rates have remained the same.

According to gov.uk, the current NMW and NLW rates are:

  • National Living Wage – £8.91
  • 21-22 year old rate – £8.36
  • 18-20 year old rate – £6.56
  • 16-17 year old rate – £4.62
  • Apprentice Rate – £4.30
  • Accommodation Offset – £8.36

The 2022 increase will see rates rise at a more rapid rate than those set out in 2021.

From April 1, the National Living Wage will rise by 6.6 percent – 4.4 percent more than the previous increase of just 2.2 percent in April 2021.

The 21-22 year old rate will rise by a whopping 9.8 percent this year, compared to the measly two percent rise last year.

What does the increase mean for your finances?

While the increase may seem like good news for your bank account, the hike in minimum wage comes at the same time as the dreaded National Insurance rate rise.

Millions of workers will pay more National Insurance from April onwards, as part of the Government’s plan to compensate for the costs of social care.

The 1.25 percent hike will force those on a £25,000 annual salary to pay around £193 more a year in National Insurance, while a £50,000 salary will pay around £505 more.

The steep increase is expected to cause significant financial disruption to around 25 million Brits.

April will see a number of other rises across the board, including:

  • Universal Credit, state pension and benefits rise
  • Pension boost for part-time workers
  • Surplus earnings threshold for Universal Credit
  • Council tax rise

Council tax rates increase year on year, though the exact figure depends on where you live.

It is predicted that most council tax bills will rise by an average of £400 per household this year.

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