The minimum wage rates are set to increase with effect from 1 April 2017 but recent reports perhaps suggest a trend that employers will pay even more than these minimum rates to their lowest paid workers. Aldi and Lidl have reportedly set their rates at £8.53 and £8.45 respectively (and £9.75 for Londoners). These rates are more in line with what campaigners call the "real living wage", which is £8.45 per hour for those outside of London and £9.75 for those in London - see http://www.livingwage.org.uk/

From 1 April 2017, for those aged 25 and over, they will need to be paid a minimum of £7.50 per hour (currently it is £7.20). This is known as the “national living wage”. For those aged 21 to 24 (inclusive), the national minimum wage will increase to £7.05 per hour (from £6.95) and for those aged 18 to 20 (inclusive), it will move from £5.55 to £5.60 per hour. For younger workers, being 16 and 17 years olds, it will be £4.05 per hour (from £4.00) and for apprentices, £3.50 (up from £3.40). Clearly these rates are far lower than some want to see. 

Will Aldi and Lidl be the exception to embracing the "real living wage" or has this started a movement towards higher pay levels? Employers will want to continue to keep an eye on things to ensure that they remain competitive in 2017.