The national minimum wage for adults increased by 12p an hour to £6.31 this week.
The rise, first announced in April of this year, follows the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission and came into force yesterday.
But unions are calling for a steeper jump, with the TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady saying a “far bigger increase” is needed.
She said: “The UK’s lowest-paid workers are now facing an historic living standards crisis.”
The rate for 18-to-20-year-olds is increasing by 5p to £5.03 an hour, while it is going up by 4p to £3.72 for the 16-to-17-year-old age group.