A new National Minimum Wage (NMW) for apprentices has been announced under new plans approved by the government.
From the beginning of October this year, all apprentices under the age of 19, and those over the age of 19 in their first year of an apprenticeship, will benefit from the new minimum wage at £2.50 per hour.
The NMW will lead to a simpler payment system for employers, after the government accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation of a minimum hourly rate.
This hourly pay rate will replace the previous minimum rate of £95 per week, which until now has been offered in England.
Under the new scheme, those in England currently being paid the existing £95 per week minimum will continue to receive the weekly minimum for the remainder of their training or until they become eligible for the full NMW.
This is to avoid those previously receiving the minimum weekly rate suffering because of the new changes.
The new NMW now applies to time working as well as time spent training that is part of the apprenticeship.
The change will not affect apprentices aged 19 or over that have already completed a year of their apprenticeship. They will instead be entitled to the full NMW appropriate to their age.
Those aged 18-20 are entitled to £4.92 per hour and £5.93 per hour for those over the age of 21.
Many employers already pay apprentices above this minimum wage, and this change will not affect employees in these circumstances
The change applies to those on publicly supported apprenticeships in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Those on Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships in England; Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland; Apprenticeships NI and Modern Apprenticeships in Northern Ireland; and Foundation Modern Apprenticeship, Modern Apprenticeship, Foundation Apprenticeships and Apprenticeships in Wales will all benefit from the change.
The change also applies to those on a contract of apprenticeships with their employer.
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