National living wage increases by 5% in April 2019


The national living wage has increased by 5% as at 1 April 2019, equating to £8.21 an hour for employees aged 25 and over; this compares to £7.83 an hour for the 2018-2019 rate.

This increase, which is the highest recorded rise since the wage rate was introduced in April 2016, will benefit approximately 1.8 million employees, adding around £690 to their annual take home pay for 2019. Full-time employees earning the national living wage are expected to receive £2,750 more a year compared to 2015, which was when the national living wage was first announced.

Kelly Tolhurst, business minister, said: “We are committed to making sure that UK [employees] get a fair day’s pay, and the rise in the national living and minimum wage, benefiting millions of people, delivers on this commitment.

“Since the national living wage was announced in 2015, it has helped protect the lowest paid, increasing faster than inflation and average earnings. Our minimum wage rates are among the highest in the world and, through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are determined to end low pay and [get employees] a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

As at 1 April 2019, the national minimum wage has also increased, benefiting around 2.1 million employees, including nearly 800,000 staff employed in the retail and hospitality sector.

This includes an increase from £7.38 an hour to £7.70 an hour for employees aged between 21 and 24, equating to an additional £580 a year for full-time employees, and a pay rise from £5.90 an hour to £6.15 an hour for those aged between 18 and 20, providing an extra £455 a year for full-time staff in this age group.

Those under the age of 18 will see their pay increase from £4.20 to £4.35 an hour, while apprentice national minimum wage rates will also rise from £3.70 an hour to £3.90 an hour.

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “This government is dedicated to increasing the wages of the lowest paid, which is why we introduced the national living wage and have continued to increase the national minimum wage rates; all of which will rise again [this month] and benefit millions of [employees].

“This government is committed to raising productivity performance across the income spectrum, so that the wages of the lowest paid can increase sustainably over time. While the proportion of low paid jobs is now at its lowest level for 20 years, we are going further by asking Professor Arin Dube, a world-leading expert in the field, to undertake a review of the international evidence of minimum wages on productivity and employment [as announced in 2019’s Spring Statement].”

Later in 2019, the government will announce the independent Low Pay Commission’s (LPC) remit for after 2020.

Bryan Sanderson, chair at the LPC, said: “We are pleased that millions of [employees] across the country will see an above-inflation pay rise as a result of [the] minimum wage increases, which follow the recommendations the LPC made in the autumn.

“[1 April 2019] is particularly significant, as it also marks 20 years of the national minimum wage. Over the last 20 years, the national minimum wage and, more recently, the national living wage have achieved their goal of raising pay without significant negative effects on employment.”