The Effects of the UK National Minimum Wage Increase on Small Businesses

From For employers category

The upcoming increase in the UK National Minimum Wage (NMW) from 1st April 2024 is set to have significant implications for small businesses across the country. As a result of recommendations made by the Low Pay Commission, this will be the largest ever increase to the NMW, impacting many workers throughout the UK.

Wage Increases and Implications for Small Businesses

The new rates effective from 1st April 2024 are as follows:

  • Age 21 and over (National Living Wage) – £11.44 per hour (currently £10.42)
  • Age 18-20 (National Minimum Wage) – £8.60 per hour (currently £7.49)
  • Age 16-17 (National Minimum Wage) – £6.40 per hour (currently £5.28)
  • Apprentice rate (National Minimum Wage) – £6.40 per hour (currently £5.28)

The budget implications of this wage increase could be significant, especially for small businesses. The rise in the NMW will add pressure on many small business owners, particularly those operating on tighter margins.

Impact on Employees and Employers

From April 1, 2024, an estimated 1.6 million employees will benefit from the largest-ever increase in cash terms, with hourly rates increasing by over £1.00 per hour for the first time since its introduction in April 1999. This increase will have a substantial effect on both employees and employers.

  • The extension of the National Living Wage to those aged 21 and over will result in a 12.4% increase for 21-year-olds, which is worth almost £2,300 per year for someone working full time.

Strategies for Small Businesses

Small businesses are advised to review pay rates throughout March to ensure compliance with the new rates of NMW and NLW from 1st April. Additionally, planning and budgeting for the forthcoming changes to the National Living Wage banding is crucial. To cope with the rising costs, small businesses may need to consider working smarter, tweaking business practices, and introducing automation to improve productivity and maximise revenue potential.


The increase in the National Minimum Wage can have far-reaching effects on both employees and employers. While it may add pressure for small business owners, it is expected to ease some of the financial stress experienced by low-paid workers due to the cost of living. Employers are encouraged to seek specific legal advice and to adjust their business practices to effectively navigate the impact of these changes.

In conclusion, the forthcoming increase in the National Minimum Wage presents both challenges and opportunities for small businesses. Adapting to these changes will be essential for ensuring compliance and maintaining financial stability in the face of rising costs.

For effective management of escalating employment expenses, the Larkspur Group has curated highly competitive rates. For further details, please contact us at 01795 501801 or via email at

Share this item

Larkspur Group Logo

Before you leave us ...

Why not join our mailing list to be notified of new jobs and updates for both job seekers and employers?  It’ll just take a few moments and we don’t do spam or annoying marketing messages!

Simple subscription