National Minimum Wage (NMW)
The National Minimum Wage (NMW)
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. The minimum wage rate depends on a worker’s age and if they’re an apprentice.
It is a criminal offence for employers not to pay someone the National Minimum Wage or to falsify payment records.
Who gets the minimum wage?
Workers must be at least school leaving age (last Friday in June of the school year they turn 16) to get the National Minimum Wage. They must be 25 or over to get the National Living Wage.
Contracts for payments below the minimum wage are not legally binding. The worker is still entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.
Workers are also entitled to the correct minimum wage if they’re:
casual labourers, for example someone hired for one day
workers and homeworkers paid by the number of items they make
trainees, workers on probation
Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either:
19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship
Apprentices over 19 who have completed the first year of their apprenticeship are entitled to the correct minimum wage for their age.
Not entitled to the minimum wage
The following types of workers aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage:
self-employed people running their own business
volunteers or voluntary workers
workers on a government employment programme, such as the Work Programme
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, are treated as one of the family and aren’t charged for meals or accommodation, for example au pairs
workers younger than school leaving age (usually 16)
higher and further education students on a work placement up to 1 year
workers on government pre-apprenticeships schemes
people on the following European Union programmes: Leonardo da Vinci, Youth in Action, Erasmus, Comenius
people working on a Jobcentre Plus Work trial for 6 weeks
people living and working in a religious community
Work experience and internships
You won’t get the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage if you’re:
a student doing work experience as part of a higher or further education course
of compulsory school age
a volunteer or doing voluntary work
on a government or European programme
You’re classed as doing voluntary work if you can only get certain limited benefits (for example reasonable travel or lunch expenses) and you’re working for a:
voluntary organisation or associated fund-raising body
Contact the Acas helpline to find out if you should be getting the minimum wage.
What are the current minimum wage rates?
The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on a workers age and whether they are an apprentice – they must be at least school leaving age to get it.
From 1st of April 2017
25 and over = £7.50 per hour
21 to 24 = £7.05 per hour
18 to 20 = £5.60 per hour
Under 18 = £4.05 per hour
Apprentice = £3.50 per hour