We’ve heard that we don’t necessarily have to pay our staff the new national living wage (NLW)/national minimum wage (NMW) rates from 1 April 2019. Is this true?

Even though the NLW and NMW rate go up on 1 April annually, it’s true that your workers might not qualify for the new rates on that date. This is because workers are only entitled to receive the new NLW/NMW rate that’s applicable to their age for pay reference periods which start on or after 1 April. Pay reference periods are determined by how frequently a worker is paid e.g. weekly or monthly. So if, for example, a worker has a monthly pay reference period which ends 25 April, they would only be entitled to receive the new NLW/NMW rate from the first day of the new pay reference period, i.e. 26 April. The same rule applies when a worker has a birthday that would entitle them to a higher rate of NLW/NMW. The worker is only entitled to receive the higher rate from the start of the next full pay reference period after their birthday, not from their birthday itself.

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