National Minimum Wage

Do you know what you are entitled to? or, if you are an employer – what you should be paying?

The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to by law. It doesn’t matter how small an employer is, they still have to pay the minimum wage. Contracts for payments below the minimum wage are not legally binding.

The minimum wage rate depends on a worker’s age and whether they are an apprentice. You must be at least school leaving age to qualify.

Current hourly rates are:

21 and over – £6.50

18-20 – £5.13

Under 18 – £3.79

Apprentice* – £2.73

* This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the national Minimum Wage for their age.

Workers are also entitled to the minimum wage if they are:

  • part time
  • casual labourers
  • agency workers
  • workers and homeworkers paid by the number of items they make
  • apprentices
  • trainees, workers on probation
  • disabled workers
  • agricultural workers
  • foreign workers
  • seafarers
  • offshore workers

Those not entitled to minimum wage include:

  • self employed people running their own business
  • company directors
  • volunteers
  • workers on a government employment programme
  • family members of the employer living in employer’s home
  • Non-family members living in employer’s home who share in the work and leisure activities, are treated as one of the family and aren’t charged for meals or accommodation
  • workers younger than school leaving age
  • higher and further education students on a work placement up to 1 year
  • workers on government pre-apprenticeship schemes
  • people on the following European Union programmes: Leonardo da Vinci, Youth in Action. Erasmus, Comenius
  • people working on a Jobcentre+ work trial for 6 weeks
  • members of the Armed Forces
  • share fishermen
  • people living and working in a religious community

More detail can be found at and you can find out what counts as working time at

National Minimum Wage Calculator  can be found at use it to check if you are being paid correctly.

Pay and Work Rights Helpline offers a free and confidential service offering help and advice for workers and employers on workers’ rights at work. Telephone 0800 917 2368 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm. Or an enquiry form and a complaints form can be accessed at

More information and factsheets on work related issues can be found on the Citizens Advice website

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