The National Minimum Wage

Minimum Wages Rates

The National Minimum Wage is an important part of the Governments strategy to provide employees with decent minimum standards and fairness in the UK workplace.

The Rates of Minimum Wage with only a few exceptions, all workers in the UK aged 16 or over are legally entitled to be paid a minimum amount per hour for the work that they do for their employer.

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This is regardless of the kind of work done or the size and type of company. The rate of minimum wage is reviewed every year, and any increases take place in April (the latest rates from 1st April 2018 are shown below).

There are four rates of National Minimum Wage. These are based on recommendations of an independent body called the Low Pay Commission.

1. The main (adult) rate applies to workers aged 25 and over and is currently £7.83 per hour.

2. For workers aged 21 -24 the rate is £7.05 an hour.

3. The third rate is currently £5.90 an hour and applies to 18 to 20-year-olds.

4. The fourth rate applies to young people who are under 18 years-old and who are above school leaving age. This rate is currently £4.20 per hour.

There is a group who are not entitled to the full National Minimum Wage. These are apprentices age 19 and over who are in the first twelve months of their apprenticeship. The 'Apprentice Minimum Wage' is currently £3.70 per hour.

Almost everyone who works in the UK is legally entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage.

This is the case even if an employer asks a worker to sign an employment contract at a lower rate of pay.

It isn't necessary to be in full-time employment, or to work at an employer's premises.


Who Can receive It?

You're entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage if you are:

  • Employed by an agency
  • A home worker
  • A part-time worker
  • A casual worker
  • A pieceworker
  • A worker on a short-term contract

However, you are not entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage if you are:

  • A worker under school leaving age
  • Are genuinely self-employed
  • An au pair
  • In the armed services
  • A voluntary worker

The DTI website offers more details about the minimum wage.

The Low Pay Commission

The Low Pay Commission was set up to advise the Government about the National Minimum Wage. In this role they carry out extensive research and consultation so they can advise the Government about rates, trends and compliance. Some of their activities include:

  • Commissioning research projects.
  • Analysing relevant data and actively. encouraging the Office of National Statistics to establish better estimates of the incidence of low pay.
  • Carrying out surveys of firms in low-paying sectors.
  • Carrying out fact-finding visits throughout the UK to meet employers, employees and representative organisations.

To find out more about the Low Pay Commission visit their web site: www.lowpay.gov.uk.


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