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Wages hike: Major shifts in staff pay

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The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on November 22nd announced a 9.8% increase in the National Living Wage [NLW]. This is the biggest raise ever and it means higher running costs for dog care / walking companies.

The key facts from Jeremy Hunt’s announcement include:

1. The rates will rise from April 1st, 2024.

2. The NLW for workers aged 23 and over will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour.

3. Workers aged 21-22 will also be entitled to the same rate as employees aged 23 and over, for the first time.

4. The NLW for 18 to 20 old staff will rise from £8.60 per hour to £9.71 per hour.

5. The apprentice rate will increase from £5.28 an hour to £6.40 an hour.

GoFido’s analysis indicates that the majority of advertised salaries in our industry currently fall below the new rates. According to data from, the study found that the average advertised hourly rate for dog walkers is £11.42, while doggy day cares offer around £10.62 on average. However, these averages are skewed upwards by a small percentage of employers who pay significantly more than the living wage, which masks lower pay rates that are more common across the industry.

For the 35% of employers paying their full time staff the current NLW wage, this means they will be legally obliged to pay their staff aged 21 and over an additional £1,900 per year from April 1st onwards.*

Companies caught paying a staff member less than the minimum wage in the UK can face several serious consequences. Financial penalties are substantial, with employers required to pay back owed wages at current rates and face additional fines from HMRC. The government may also publicly name and shame offending employers. More on this can be found here.

What is the difference between the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage? We asked Brett Morrison of accountants Outrise for a quick explanation:

“In the UK, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) are distinct government-set rates ensuring fair worker wages. Until April, the Minimum Wage, is the minimum hourly pay for employees aged 18 to 22. The Living Wage, higher than the Minimum Wage, currently applies to those aged 23 and over and is designed to provide a living wage that reflects the higher cost of living for older workers and their likely greater experience.”

*This figure is based upon a PAYE employee working 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.

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