The minimum rate of pay per hour that an employer can pay by law in the UK is known as the national minimum wage. It varies by age and whether the person is an apprentice. Those aged 23 and over receive the highest minimum wage, which is known as the national living wage. In this article, we’ll discuss the national minimum wage in detail.
- How Much Is the National Minimum Wage?
- Living Wage
- Who Is Entitled to the Minimum Wage
- National Minimum Wage Calculations
- National Minimum Wage and Accommodation
- What Payments Do And Do Not Count
- What If the Employer Pays Less than the Minimum Wage
- National Minimum Wage and Benefits
- Making It Count
How Much Is the National Minimum Wage?
The table below outlines the national minimum wage based on age for 2023/2024.
|National Minimum Wage
|16 – 17
|18 – 20
|21 – 22
|23 and over
Minimum Wage and Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship schemes can take 1 to 5 years to complete. In the first year of the apprenticeship scheme, all apprentices are paid £5.28 minimum wage. In the subsequent years, apprentices receive the appropriate minimum wage for their age. For example, in the second year of an apprenticeship scheme, a 22-year-old will receive £10.18 minimum wage per hour.
The Living Wage Foundation sets the living wage rate. The Living Wage Foundation is a collection of people, organisations, and businesses striving to ensure everyone in the UK can receive a salary that can meet the cost of living. Due to the discrepancies in living costs between London and the rest of the country, the living wage for London is £11.95 an hour, while in other areas, it is £10.90 an hour.
Would you like to work in the UK? If you are not a British National, you will need a work visa. Read all about the available work permits in the UK here.
Who Is Entitled to the Minimum Wage
All employees are entitled to the national minimum wage. This includes:
- Full-time workers
- Part-time workers
- Casual workers
- Temporary workers
Those who are company directors or self-employed do not qualify for minimum wage. Additionally, they must be at school-leaving age to obtain the national minimum wage. The school leaving age in the UK is the final Friday of June when a person is 16 years old.
National Minimum Wage Calculations
Before calculating the national minimum wage, the incurred expenses should be taken into account. Expenses include:
- Payments made by the employee for the employer’s benefit (for example, the cost of travel between different sites)
- Equipment required for the job but not paid for by the employer (for example, equipment, tools, uniform, etc.)
Only after these considerations can the real national minimum wage be calculated. The national minimum wage is based on gross pay (i.e., it does not include National insurance and tax contributions).
National Minimum Wage and Accommodation
If the employer provides accommodation, they can consider these costs before calculating the national minimum wage. Other benefits, such as meals or childcare vouchers, do not count.
What Payments Do And Do Not Count
Some people are paid an enhanced rate (or “premium“) than the standard rate for some work. Some examples of why people get premium rates are:
- Doing weekend, overtime, or night shifts
- Working bank holidays
- Working more than a certain number of hours (for example, working more than 40 hours a week)
The “premium” does not count towards the national minimum wage. Additionally, the employer is not able to include gratuities or tips. Bonuses and incentive payments can be included in the National Minimum Wage.
What If the Employer Pays Less than the Minimum Wage
The first port of call should be to check pay slips and records to confirm. Talk to the employer to make them aware of the situation. If a resolution cannot be reached, for further advice, contact:
- The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 0300 123 1100, or
- Labour Relations Agency on 0289 032 1442
A complaint can also be made to His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
National Minimum Wage and Benefits
It may even be possible to obtain help paying the cost of renting a home. These benefits top up a person’s income to enable them to pay bills and other essentials. Use these benefit calculators to see what you may be entitled to.
Making It Count
The minimum wage has been rising regularly in recent times. However, due to the high cost of living, it is difficult for many on minimum wage to meet living expenses. Those on minimum wage should seek benefits such as Universal Credit to increase their income.