Workplace experts Acas are alerting employers about new National Minimum Wage rates that will come into force next week on Tuesday 1 October 2013.

Last year there were 500 employment tribunal claims concerning the national minimum wage and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also identified 736 employers who had failed to pay the wage.

The new minimum wage rates for workers will be:

  • £6.31 for people aged 21 years and over;
  • £5.03 for people aged 18 to 20 years old;
  • £3.72 for people aged 16 to 17 years old;
  • £2.68 for apprentices under 19; and
  • £2.68 for apprentices 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

Acas have also launched a new tool available at to help employers and employees work out the right minimum wage payments. The tool is part of Acas’ Helpline Online service which offers 24 hour free advice and guidance on rights at work and employment law. Employers and employees can also call the Acas helpline on 08457 47 47 47.

Acas Chair Ed Sweeney said: “Employers have a legal duty to pay the national minimum wage or they risk getting prosecuted if they refuse to pay it. Our helpline is a highly trusted source of free advice with over 90 per cent of callers satisfied with the service. Over the past year our advisers dealt with nearly 80,000 calls on the national minimum wage and wages generally.

“Most employers should be aware of the changes taking place from 1 October but the earlier you seek advice about any concerns you have about employee wages then the more likely you are to be able to avoid the cost, stress and time involved in an employment tribunal.”

A new change will also come into force for Agricultural and Horticultural workers in England who are employed after 1 October 2013. These new workers will be covered by the National Minimum Wage rates rather than the Agricultural Wages Order 2012.

Workers who are already employed before 1 October 2013 will still be entitled to the same terms and conditions set under their employment contract and the Order.Workers in Scotland will continue to be covered by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board. In Wales, the current arrangements remain until a pending ruling by the Supreme Court.