April heralds Easter weekend, birthdays for the star signs Aries and Taurus and of course, the annual increase to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage.

Current and increased rates

The below rates are for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage. The rates change every April.

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2017 (current) £7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.50
April 2018 £7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70


As the rate increases are linked with age, it’s vital to keep an eye on whether employees are tripping into a new bracket during the course of a year, especially if you have a young workforce. Implementing a system to help you flag these changes will help enormously.

If you realise you haven’t been paying an employee the correct minimum wage then you need to work out the difference and pay any arrears immediately. If you are unsure, the Gov.uk site has a calculator which can help you check any existing rates of pay as well as calculating what you should be paying any future employees.

To ensure you are complying with the letter of the law, it’s also worth checking you understand what counts as working time, as it may not always be as clear cut as you think…

What counts as working time?

For all types of work, including time spent:

  • at work and required to be working, or on standby near the workplace (but don’t include rest breaks that are taken)
  • not working because of machine breakdown, but kept at the workplace
  • waiting to collect goods, meet someone for work or start a job
  • travelling in connection with work, including travelling from one work assignment to another
  • training or travelling to training
  • at work and under certain work-related responsibilities even when workers are allowed to sleep (whether or not a place to sleep is provided)

Don’t include time spent:

  • travelling between home and work
  • away from work on rest breaks, holidays, sick leave or maternity leave
  • on industrial action
  • not working but at the workplace or available for work at or near the workplace during a time when workers are allowed to sleep (and you provide a place to sleep)

You can find examples on the Gov.uk website or if you need further information or advice, get in touch.