As we navigate through the financial year 2023/24 and look towards 2024/25, it’s crucial for all parties involved in supporting employee’s, to stay informed about the changes in the minimum wage structure in the UK, especially in the context of apprenticeships. The minimum wage serves as the legal baseline for what employers can pay their employees, with variations based on age and apprenticeship status.
In this blog, we explore the essential updates and impacts of the UK’s minimum wage structure during the financial years 2023/24 and 2024/25, especially focusing on apprenticeships. We examine the potential benefits of rewarding apprentices above this legal requirement to further develop your organisation and ensure the recruitment and retention of highly-traoined employees.
Significant Increases in 2023/24
In April 2023, the UK witnessed a significant increase in all rates of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), including the National Living Wage (NLW). This uplift was a positive change for millions of low-paid workers across the country. The rates were adjusted as follows:
- National Living Wage (23 and over): £10.42 per hour, a 9.7% increase.
- 21-22 Year Old Rate: £10.18 per hour, up by 10.9%.
- 18-20 Year Old Rate: £7.49 per hour, increased by 9.7%.
- 16-17 Year Old Rate: £5.28 per hour, also up by 9.7%.
- Apprentice Rate: £5.28 per hour, with a 9.7% increase.
These rates marked a substantial increase from previous years, reflecting the government’s commitment to supporting low-paid workers, including apprentices.
Looking Ahead to 2024/25
Based on the Autumn Statement 2023, we can anticipate further increases from 1 April 2024. The National Living Wage is expected to rise by 9.8% to £11.44 per hour for workers aged 21 and over. Young people and apprentices under the National Minimum Wage will also see a beneficial increase in their wages.
Why These Changes Matter
Employers and apprentices alike should understand the significance of these changes. For apprentices, in particular, it’s crucial to recognise that their pay rate is not just a number – it’s a reflection of their value and the investment in their future. Employers paying above the National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage (NAMW) can attract more skilled and motivated apprentices, thereby enhancing their workforce quality.
For Employers: A Strategic Perspective
Paying apprentices more than the minimum rate can be a strategic decision. It may be due to the apprentice’s progression, additional responsibilities, or aligning with the company’s overall pay structure. Rewarding apprentices like other employees shows appreciation for their contributions and can encourage them to continue their career with your organisation post-training.
The Bigger Picture in Recruitment
Attracting top talent is a primary goal for any employer. Offering competitive wages, especially for apprenticeship positions, can make a significant difference in the quality and quantity of applicants. This strategy is even more critical when it involves upskilling existing employees through apprenticeships.
Upon completion of their apprenticeship, individuals usually possess enhanced skills valuable to their employers. Recognising and rewarding this growth not only benefits the employee but also contributes to a positive and progressive company culture.
Addressing Wage Concerns
Both employees and apprentices must be aware of their rights regarding fair pay. If there are concerns about not being paid correctly, the first step is to discuss this with the company’s Human Resources department. For unresolved issues, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) offers free and impartial advice, accessible via their helpline (0300 123 1100).
Staying updated with the latest changes in the minimum wage, especially regarding apprenticeships, is vital for both employers and apprentices. As we advance into 2024/25, these changes not only reflect economic shifts but also the growing importance of apprenticeships in building a skilled and competent workforce for the future.
Whether you’re an employer looking to nurture talent or an apprentice aiming to build a successful career, understanding the dynamics of the minimum wage is crucial. Stay informed and proactive with the latest updates and insights. Connect with us for tailored advice, resources, and support to navigate the evolving landscape of UK apprenticeships. Contact CMS Vocational Training on 01924 470 477, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or book a 30-minute call/ webinar here.