Next year’s increase to the UK National Minimum Wage will put employers under pressure, says leading human resources specialist Breda Cullen from HR Team.


UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that the National Living Wage (minimum wage) will rise to £8.21 an hour from April 6, 2019 for workers aged 25 and over.


“While it’s welcome news for low-paid workers, the Budget increase of almost 5% in the statutory minimum wage from £7.83 to £8.21 will heap further pressure on employers in Northern Ireland and the UK . The need to maintain differentials across workforces is where the real pain will be for employers – many of whom are already facing difficult conditions in light of Brexit uncertainty,” she says.

Minimum wage increase April 2019

Ms Cullen adds that the move, which will take effect from April 2019, raises concerns over increased costs to already under pressure businesses. And some sectors will “feel the pinch” more than others, she explains.


“The increased minimum wage may force some employers to reduce employee’s working hour, particularly in sectors which have large numbers of low-paid and casual workers such as retail and hospitality.”


“The increase will also be particularly difficult for small businesses which have no potential to pass on such cost increases,” says the employment law specialist.


The full breakdown of the minimum wage increase by age bracket is as follows:


  • National Living Wage (minimum wage for over-25s) to rise from £7.83 to £8.21
  • Minimum wage (21-24) to increase from £7.38 to £7.70
  • Minimum wage (18-20) to increase from £5.90 to £6.15
  • Minimum wage (16-17) to increase from £4.20 to £4.35
  • Apprentice wage to increase from £3.70 to £3.90