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10% wages hike for industry from Monday

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The National Living Wage increase to £11.44 on April 1st will challenge pet care businesses currently paying staff at minimum hourly rates with significantly higher wage bills, impacting operational costs across the sector.

The National Living Wage is the minimum hourly rate that workers of 23 and above are legally entitled to receive, and rises from £10.42 to £11.44 next week, a 10% increase and over twice the average increase since the National Living Wage’s introduction in 2016. It is the first time the wage has increased by over £1. For the first time, those aged 21-22 are also entitled to receive the same hourly rate.

There has long been confusion between the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage, with the only difference relating to an employee’s age; Employees aged 18-20 are now entitled to the lower minimum wage which increases to £8.44 per hour, with under-18s and apprentices being entitled to £6.40.

In context, a day care assistant / driver aged 21 and above, working from 9am to 5pm with a 1-hour unpaid lunch break, will be entitled to a minimum annual salary of £23,795.20, marking an increase of nearly £2,200. This in addition to a workplace pension to which the employer contributes more than £500 each year.

Whereas the increases are good news for workers, it spells trouble for owners in the pet industry plus their clients, with the owner of a prominent day care in London commenting “Many of our costs have gone up a lot in the past few years, making things tough. But this new change will affect us much more, and though I’m glad UK workers in general are getting a better deal, we’re having to increase our prices, which could make earning money harder. In short, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

More on this topic can be found here.

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