From 1 October 2014, the rate of National Minimum Wage (NMW) for employees will rise as follows:
◾Aged 21 and over – from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour
◾Apprentices under 19 and those aged 19+ in the first year of their apprenticeship – from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour
◾Aged 18 to 20 – from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour
◾Aged 16 and 17 – from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour
Employers who fail to pay the NMW could face a fine of £200 for each underpaid employee.
The Department of Trade and Industry also states that employers who continue to ignore their responsibility to pay NMW within seven days of an enforcement notice could also face prosecution. This could result in a criminal record and a £5,000 fine – however the maximum penalty can be up to £20,000 per worker.
Dismissing a worker due to their eligibility for the NMW will count as unfair dismissal. Workers do not have to serve any qualifying period in order to gain protection against this form of unfair dismissal.
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