What is the National Minimum Wage?
The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour workers are entitled to, by law.
The National Minimum Wage rates depend on:
- the time of the year as they are revisited every year in April
- the age of the worker
- whether the worker is an apprentice.
What are the National Minimum Wage rates?
The rates are set by the UK Government and change every April.
From April 2019 onwards, every worker aged 25 or over will have to be paid at the minimum £8.21 per hour. This is a 4.9% increase from April 2018.
|Year||25 and over||21 to 24||18 to 20||Under 18||Apprentice|
|April 2018 (current)||£7.83||£7.38||£5.90||£4.20||£3.70|
Apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage if they are over 19 and have completed their first year of apprenticeship.
The UK government’s website provides an excellent online calculator to help you figure out which rate to apply.
What is the difference between the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage?
The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour most workers under the age of 25 are entitled to by law.
The National Living Wage is the minimum pay per hour most workers aged 25 or over are entitled to by law.
Who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage?
- Agency workers – i.e., temporary workers placed by recruitment agencies into temporary placements
- Employees who work part-time
- Casual labourers – e.g., somebody hired for one day
- Foreign workers
- Offshore workers
Who is not eligible for the National Minimum Wage?
- Self-employed people, which includes “gig economy” workers and freelancers
- Company directors
- And other workers – for the full list, please visit the UK government website.
What is the difference between the National Living Wage and the Living Wage?
The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are set by the UK government and revised every year in April. It is compulsory for employers to pay their workers the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage.
The Living Wage is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers can choose to pay the Living Wage.
The Living Wage Foundation recommends employers:
- in London to pay a minimum of £10.55 per hour for workers aged 18 or over
- outside London and across the UK, to pay a minimum of £9.00 per hour for workers aged 18 or over.
4,700 employers have currently opted to pay the Living Wage.