The rise of 2.5% bucks the trend for low or stagnant salary increases, according to employment research company, Incomes Data Service.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The increases in minimum wage rates show the Government understands the NMW must remain an important part of working life.
"These rises are relatively modest, but they will provide a welcome pay boost for around 840,000 low-paid workers in the UK.
"It is only fair that employers play their part in combating low pay and the Low Pay Commission (LPC) has taken great care to ensure that the new rates are set at a level that will not damage job creation in these uncertain economic times.
"There will be room for much more generous increases in future years, once the economy begins to recover. But the Government also needs to address the issue of youth unemployment, which has led to the LPC recommending a smaller increase for younger workers this year."