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National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to by law.

The rate payable depends on the individual’s age and whether they are in training or doing an apprenticeship.

National Minimum Wage applies to a Worker who:

  • is working, or ordinarily works, in the UK under a contract; and
  • has ceased to be of compulsory school age.

The following Workers do NOT qualify for National Minimum Wage (NMW):

  • A worker aged 18 to 25 who is in the first twelve months of new employment and who is employed under a contract of apprenticeship, or if the first 12 months expires before he reaches 19, until he has attained the age of 19 (This only applies to those engaged under arrangements made by the Government known as Modern Apprenticeships i.e. funded by the DfES).
  • A worker participating on a training or work experience scheme or temporary work to assist him in seeking or obtaining work which is either:
    1. A scheme provided under arrangements made by the Government or funded in whole or part under the European Social Fund;
    2. A worker in higher education (at first degree level or below) or teacher training who undergoes a period of work experience not exceeding one year as part of their course.
  • A worker who receives shelter and other benefits in return for performing work under a scheme which is:
    1. non-profit making or is run by a charity for the alleviation of poverty
    2. under which all those participating including the worker in question were immediately before entering the scheme, either homeless or living in a hostel for homeless persons and who were in receipt of income related benefits or were not entitled because they were not habitually resident in the UK
  • Persons serving in the armed forces
  • Share fisherman
  • Voluntary workers (who receive no payment and have no contract)
  • Persons detained in or on temporary release from prison
  • Workers who are participating in the Programme Led Apprenticeships scheme in England (i.e. where a young person can obtain some work experience before moving onto a full apprenticeship);
  • Workers “undertaking” courses of higher education (this replaces the previous category of workers “attending” courses of higher education);
  • Workers who attend a period of work experience of less than a year as part of a course of further education;
  • Workers participating in the latest phase of the Leonardo da Vinci Programme;
  • Workers participating in the European Community Youth in Action Programme (this is a new EU Programme in the field of youth, which started on 1 January 2007 and will run to 31 December 2013).

National Minimum Wage Rates:

Type of Payment From 1 October 2015 From 1 October 2014
Workers aged 21 and over
(minimum rate per hour)
£6.70 £6.50
Workers aged 18-20 and those aged 21 and over doing accredited training in the first six months of employment*
(minimum rate per hour)
 £5.30   £5.13 
Workers aged under 16 and 17
(minimum rate per hour)
 £3.87   £3.87 
Apprentices under 19 (or aged 19 and over in the first year of their apprenticeship)
(minimum rate per hour)
 £3.30   £2.73 

It is a criminal offence for an employer not to pay someone the National Minimum Wage or to falsify payment records.