NI: Businesses to pay new National Living Wage from today

Suzanne Keenan, employment solicitor at Belfast firm MKB Law
Suzanne Keenan, employment solicitor at Belfast firm MKB Law

Businesses in Northern Ireland will be required to pay a higher minimum wage to workers over 25 from today as the new UK-wide National Living Wage comes into effect.

The new rate is set at £7.20 per hour for over-25s across the UK.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said: “I said last year when I announced plans for the National Living Wage that Britain deserved a pay rise. Today, I’m proud to say Britain is getting one.

“So I’m delighted that 1.3 million people across Britain will benefit from the biggest wage increase in eight years thanks to the new National Living Wage.

“The National Living Wage will play a central role in moving Britain to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare economy. It will also mark the end of the gender pay gap for some of our lowest paid and hardest working people.”

Suzanne Keenan, employment solicitor at Belfast firm MKB Law, told Irish Legal News: “The introduction of the National Living Wage is going to have a significant impact on employers throughout the UK, and indeed could dramatically increase wage expenses for those employers with a high volume of affected employees.

“It is likely that over the course of the next 12 months we will see employers attempt to adapt to the new wage level by restructuring their Human Resources.

“It will be extremely important for both employers and employees to take good legal advice in the course of any restructure or adaptations so as to ensure compliance with existing employment law.”

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