National Minimum Wage entitlement

When minimum wage increases are paid

There are times when employees or workers will be entitled to a higher minimum wage rate, for example:

  • if the government increases the rates (usually in April each year)
  • if an employee or worker turns 18, 21 or 25
  • if an apprentice turns 19, or finishes the first year of their current apprenticeship

The higher rate starts to apply from the next 'pay reference period' after the increase. This means someone's pay might not go up straight away.

Example

There’s a minimum wage rate increase on 1 April.

Sam gets paid monthly on the 15th of the month. The old rate will apply until Sam's next pay reference period starts on 16 April.

As a minimum, Sam should get paid:

  • the old rate for 1 April to 15 April
  • the new rate for 16 April to 15 May

Pay reference period

The ‘pay reference period’ is the period of time the pay covers. For example:

  • if paid daily, the pay reference period is 1 day
  • if paid weekly, the pay reference period is 1 week
  • if paid monthly, the pay reference period is 1 month

The pay reference period cannot be longer than a month.