The national minimum wage rises from £5.52 to £5.73 an hour for employees over the age of 21 from today.
It will increase from £4.60 to £4.77 an hour for 18 to 21-year-olds, and from £3.40 to £3.53 for 16 and 17-year-olds.
The inflation linked rise in the minimum wage was welcomed by employers' groups when it was announced in March. Previous above inflation increases had threatened to put a strain on specific sectors, such as hotel and catering, they warned.
The minimum wage has increased by 59% since legislation was introduced in 1998, compared with a 44% rise in average pay over the same period.
The minimum wage has been a controversial issue for the hospitality industry this year, with criticism over the practice of using tips to make up hourly pay to legal levels.
The Government has announced that it will close the loophole allowing restaurants to pay staff less than the minimum wage from next year.
By Daniel Thomas
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