National Minimum Wage – an overview

How much is the National Minimum Wage (NMW)?

Most workers in the UK over school leaving age are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

The NMW rates are reviewed each year, the Low Pay commission announced from the 1 October 2012, the rates are:

  • £6.19 for workers 21 and over
  • £4.98 18 – 20 yrs
  • £3.68 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.65 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

It is important to note that these rates, which came into force 1 October 2012, apply to pay reference periods beginning on or after that date.

The rates from 1 October 2013 will be:

  • £6.31 for workers 21 and over
  • £5.03 18 – 20 yrs
  • £3.72 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.68 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

What can be done if someone thinks they are not receiving the NMW?

The Pay and Work Rights Helpline gives confidential help and advice on the NMW. They can be contacted on 0800 917 2368 or by visiting the link below.
Who is not entitled to the NMW?
Most workers are entitled to receive the NMW, however, there are a number of people who will not be entitled to the NMW these include:

  • Self-employed people
  • volunteers
  • voluntary workers
  • company directors.

Who is exempt from the National Minimum Wage (NMW)?

The following do not qualify for the NMW:

  • the genuinely self-employed
  • genuine volunteers
  • students doing work as part of their undergraduate or post-graduate course
  • workers on certain training schemes
  • residents of certain religious communities
  • prisoners
  • the armed force
  • share fishermen.

All other workers including pieceworkers, home workers, agency workers, commission workers, part-time workers and casual workers must receive at least the NMW. There are no exemptions according to size of business or by sector, job or region.

This information was taken from the ACAS website (www.acas.org.uk)

For further information, visit https://www.gov.uk/pay-and-work-rights-helpline