National Minimum Wage – Everything You Need To Know

Here's everything you need to know about the National Minimum Wage.

What is the National Minimum Wage?

The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to. The minimum wage a worker should get depends on their age and if they're an apprentice.

Minimum wage calculators can be used to check if the correct minimum wage has been paid. Although, there are separate calculators for workers and employers.


Who gets the minimum wage?

People classed as 'workers' and who are at least school leaving age (16) are eligible for earning the National Minimum Wage. These workers are also entitled to the correct Minimum Wage if they're:

  • part-time
  • casual labourers, for example someone hired for the day
  • 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

Who is not entitled to the minimum wage?

If any of these apply to you, you are not entitled to earning the minimum wage:

  • self-employed people running their own business
  • company directors
  • people who are volunteers or voluntary workers
  • workers on a government employment program, such as the Work Program
  • members of the armed forces
  • family members of the employer living in the employer's home
  • non-family members living in the employer's home who share in the work and leisure activities. They're treated as one of the family and are not charged for meals and accommodation, for example au pairs
  • workers younger than school leaving age (usually 16)
  • higher and further education students on work experience or a work placement up to one year
  • people shadowing others at work
  • workers on government pre-apprenticeships schemes
  • people on the following European Union (EU) programs: Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus+, Comenius
  • people workings on a Jobcentre Plus trial for up to 6 weeks
  • share fishermen
  • prisoners
  • people living and working in a religious community

How does the NMW affect you?

Depending on where you work, what you work as and under which title, the amount you receive from the National Minimum Wage will differentiate. For example, factors such as age and job title will determine how much you're entitled to be paid. Working as an apprentice also determines how much you will be paid, as apprentice pay rates differ when it comes under the National Minimum Wage category.

Current Rates

These rates are for the National Living Wage (for those aged 23 and over) and the National Minimum Wage (for those of at least school leaving age).

 23 and over21 to 2218 to 20Under 18 Apprentice
April 2021£8.91£8.36£6.56£4.62£4.20

The rates change on 1 April every year.


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