Minimum wage ‘heroes’ working during the coronavirus pandemic will see an increase in their earnings from today.

The statutory rate for over-25s, the national living wage, will now go up from £8.21 an hour to £8.72, while the national minimum wage will go up from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds.

For those between the ages of 18 and 20, the minimum wage will go up from £6.15 to £6.45, and under 18s will see an increase from £4.35 to £4.55.

The hourly rate for apprentices will also increase from £3.90 to £4.15.

The new rates are still lower than the voluntary real living wage of £10.75 an hour in London, and £9.30 outside the capital.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has welcomed the increases, adding that the UK is ‘indebted to its army of minimum wage heroes’.

She continued: ‘Many, including care workers and supermarket staff, are currently on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus. They deserve every penny of this increase, and more.

Advertisement

Advertisement

‘The best way to show our respect is to get the minimum wage up to a real living wage as soon as possible.

‘Millions of low-paid workers are struggling to make ends meet. That’s not right during a pandemic, or at any time.’

Supermarket workers and carers have both been listed as key workers by the government, meaning their jobs have been marked as ‘essential’ during the pandemic.

thumbnail for post ID 12487150First look at NHS Nightingale as it prepares to open to coronavirus patients this week

Many stores have even been advertising for more workers to try and keep up with the demands of the UK remaining in lockdown, which has caused some people to panic buy groceries, toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis the pay rises would make a ‘real difference’ to over a million low-paid workers across the country.

He continued: ‘Many care staff are on the minimum wage. They’re looking after the elderly and vulnerable in the most challenging of circumstances and deserve every penny.

‘All employers must ensure their staff get the legal increase.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘It is right that workers are fairly rewarded and should not lose out during this time of disruption. Therefore, we will continue with our proposed increases to the national living wage and the national minimum wage in April.

Advertisement

Advertisement

‘However, we recognise that this will mean extra costs for some businesses. The Chancellor has announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment.’

Coronavirus latest news and updates