The National Minimum Wage rates from 1 October 2015, as recommended by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) will be:
- a 20p (3%) increase in the adult rate (from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour)
- a 17p (3%) increase in the rate for 18 to 20 year olds (from £5.13 to £5.30 per hour)
- an 8p (2%) increase in the rate for 16 to 17 year olds (from £3.79 to £3.87 per hour)
The National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices will increase by 57p (20%) from £2.73 to £3.30 per hour. The LPC recommended an increase of 2.6% to £2.80 in the apprentice rate.
The Government is also putting employers in control of the funding for apprenticeships by introducing a new digital apprenticeship voucher. Vouchers can be used to reduce or eliminate training costs with appropriate providers.
Apprenticeship vouchers will further simplify things for employers and give them the purchasing power to fund apprenticeship training.
The employer would register their details on a system being developed by the Skills Funding Agency including their type of business, the details of the apprentice and the apprenticeship standard being signed up to. The discounted rate, which could be up to 100% for 16 to 18 year olds, at which employers can purchase training, would be calculated and the employer would be able to pass on the voucher code to the provider that is delivering the training. The provider would then reclaim the value of the voucher from the Skills Funding Agency.