Retail companies will have to pay some of their employees a near 5% increase from now on after the national living wage rose by its highest ever amount yesterday.
The new hourly rate for adults aged 25 and older has increased to £8.21, which is a 4.9% rise on the previous amount and will effect nearly 2m workers.
The increase means employers will have to pay out an additional £700 a year to those who benefit from the rise in national living wage.
Meanwhile, 21 to 24-year-olds must now be payed £7.70 per hour and 18 to 20-year-olds must be payed £6.15.
Ministers say that employees in the retail sector will be among those who benefit the most from the increases.
The national living wage was brought in three years ago and is designed to be a form of minimum wage for employees who are 25 and over.
It is hoped that the hourly rate will increase to around £8.60 by next year. Research by the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre has suggested that the overall impact of the national living wage rise will be slightly negative because of the extra costs businesses will face.