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National Minimum Wage
What is the National Minimum Wage?
Are there any exemptions for small businesses?
Are there any specific records that I need to keep?
Where can I get more information on the National Minimum Wage?
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National Minimum Wage

What is the National Minimum Wage?

This page provides some basic details about the National Minimum Wage. It does not describe every detail of the law. You can get more detailed information from the publications we have listed in the page more information on the national minimum wage and from the National Minimum Wage helpline on Tel 0845 600 0678.

The National Minimum Wage increased on 1st October 2013

The minimum wage is a legal right which covers almost all workers above compulsory school leaving age. There are different minimum wage rates for different groups of workers as follows:

  • The main Adult rate (for workers aged 21 and over) is currently set at £6.31 an hour.
  • The development rate for 18-20 year olds is currently set at £5.03 an hour.
  • The development rate for 16-17 years olds is £3.72 an hour.

The adult minimum wage rate has been extended to workers aged 21 or over from October 2010. Previously the qualifying age for the adult national minimum wage was 22.

Apprentice Rate

These rates apply from 1 October 2013 to all apprentices as follows:

  • for apprentices aged under 19: £2.68 per hour
  • for apprentices aged 19 and over, but in the first year of their apprenticeship: £2.68 per hour

Apprentices aged 19 or over who have completed at least one year of their apprenticeship are entitled to receive the full national minimum wage rate applicable to their age.

It is important to note that these new rates only apply to pay reference periods beginning on or after the date they came into law.

16 and 17 Year Olds Rate

The Government accepted the Low Pay Commission's recommendations for a new rate for 16 and 17 year olds (above compulsory school leaving age)* in their 2004 report.

  • £3.72 per hour from 1st October 2013.

NB: 16 and 17 year old apprentices are exempt from the young workers rate.

*Compulsory School Age

  • In England and Wales: a person is no longer of compulsory school age after the last Friday of June of the school year in which their 16th birthday occurs.
  • In Northern Ireland: a person is no longer of compulsory school age after the 30th June of the school year in which their 16th birthday occurs.
  • In Scotland: pupils whose 16th birthday falls between 1st March and 30th September may not leave before the 31st May of that year. Pupils aged 16 on or between 1st October and the last day of February may not leave until the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.

Fair Piece Rates

Since October 2004, the Government proposed that employers have to pay their workers the minimum wage for every hour they work or a fair piece rate initially set at 100% of the minimum wage. The rate was increased to 120% of the minimum wage in April 2005 at which point most homeworkers will receive the minimum wage.

To check on how the National Minimum Wage applies to your staff, telephone the National Minimum Wage Helpline on 0845 6000 678.

Crown Copyright © 2010-2013



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