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National Minimum Wage

Key points

  • Most workers will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
  • Normally the NMW rate changes in October each year.
  • There are no exemptions according to the size of business.
  • HM Revenue & Customs can take employers to court for not paying the NMW.

Most workers in the UK over school leaving age are entitled to be paid at least the NMW. The NMW rates are reviewed each year by the Low Pay commission.

Current NMW rates

  • £6.50 for workers 21 and over
  • £5.13 18 - 20 yrs
  • £3.79 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.73 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

New NMW rates from 1 October 2015

  • £6.70 for workers 21 and over
  • £5.30 18 - 20 yrs
  • £3.87 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
  • £3.30 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 come into force 1 October 2015, apply to pay reference periods beginning on or after that date.

Minimum wage calculator

Find out what minimum wage you are entitled to using Helpline Online:

Check my NMW rate now

There are a number of people who will not be entitled to the NMW these include:

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

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.

Agricultural Wages (England)

From the 1 October 2013, the Agricultural Wages (England and Wales) Order 2012 will no longer apply in England; from that date new agricultural and horticultural workers in England must be paid in accordance with the appropriate hourly national minimum wage rate.

Workers already employed before 1 October 2013 will still be entitled to the same terms and conditions set under their contract of employment; this may include overtime rates, agricultural wages, sick pay or dog allowance. Defra will continue to enforce complaints made by workers in respect of underpayments or non-compliance with terms and conditions of an Agricultural Wages Order before 1 October 2013 for up to six years after the breach occurred.

For agricultural workers in Scotland (see The Scottish Government - Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (SAWB)) there is no change and in Wales arrangements are in place for workers to continue to be entitled to the terms of the Agricultural Wages Order 2012 after 1 October pending a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Further information on Agricultural workers' rights is available from GOV.UK - Agricultural workers' rights and GOV.UK - Employing farm workers.

Acas Helpline

Call our Helpline on 0300 123 1100 for free support and advice or to check your workplace policies and practices. The Acas Helpline provides free and impartial advice for employers, employees and representatives on a range of employment relations, employment rights, HR and management issues.

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Helpline number: 0300 123 1100
Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm and Saturday 9am-1pm

View further information about our Helpline service, including our new Helpline Online on the Acas Helpline page.

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