The National Minimum Wage is a vital entitlement for millions of workers, and we’re here to provide you with all the essential details.
In April, employees experienced a significant pay increase of 10.1% due to the adjustments in minimum wage rates.
What is the National Minimum Wage?
In the UK, there are two distinct minimum wage rates that workers should receive: the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage.
The NMW applies to workers under the age of 23, while the National Living Wage is for those aged 23 and over, with slightly higher rates.
It’s important to note that both of these rates differ from the Real Living Wage, a voluntary minimum commitment by some employers, which stands at £10.90 or £11.95 in London as of January 2023.
In April of this year, both the NMW and National Living Wage experienced a remarkable 10.1% increase, benefiting a multitude of workers.
The concept of the National Minimum Wage was introduced in 1998 during the Labour government. Initially, it applied to workers aged 22 and above, with a separate rate for those aged 18-21. A distinct rate for 16-17-year-olds was introduced in 2004, and in 2010, 21-year-olds became eligible for the adult rate of the NMW.
The rate is determined by the government each year, based on recommendations from the Low Pay Commission (LPC), and it serves as a crucial support for millions, particularly as workers grapple with the challenges of rising inflation and living costs.
Here are the National Minimum Wage rates for 2023/24:
- Workers aged 21-22 receive at least £10.18 per hour.
- For 18 to 20-year-olds, the minimum wage is £7.49 per hour.
- Those under 18 are entitled to a minimum of £5.28 per hour.
- The apprenticeship wage also stands at £5.28 per hour.
Meanwhile, the National Living Wage, applicable to those aged 23 and over, is set at £10.42 per hour.
Who gets the National Minimum Wage and am I entitled?
To be eligible for the National Minimum Wage, you typically need to have reached school-leaving age, which is typically around 16 years old.
The pay rate applies to a variety of work arrangements, including full-time, part-time, or casual labor, such as one-day hires. Agency workers, individuals compensated based on the number of items they produce, apprentices, trainees, and those in their probationary period all qualify.
These rates also extend to disabled workers, ensuring fair compensation for all.
If you believe you’re not receiving fair pay, it’s advisable to first address the matter with your employer. If this proves ineffective, the next step is to file a complaint through the government’s website. Employers who fail to meet the minimum wage requirements can face public exposure and even potential criminal prosecution.
However, there are certain categories of workers who do not qualify for the National Minimum Wage. These include self-employed individuals, voluntary workers, company directors, and family members living in the employer’s home performing household chores. Additionally, au pairs, members of the armed forces, and individuals participating in government employment programs are also exempt from this payment.
Which workers do not qualify for the National Minimum Wage?
Individuals who are self-employed, engaged in voluntary work, hold positions as company directors, or reside in the employer’s household while performing household tasks are exempt from receiving the minimum wage.
Similarly, au pairs, members of the armed forces, and participants in government employment programs are also ineligible for this payment.
- Self-employed individuals operating their own businesses.
- Company directors.
- Volunteers or those engaged in voluntary work.
- Participants in government employment programs like the Work Programme.
- Members of the armed forces.
- Family members of the employer residing in the employer’s home.
- Non-family members living in the employer’s home who are considered part of the family and do not incur charges for meals or accommodation, such as au pairs.
- Workers below the school leaving age, typically 16 years old.
- Higher and further education students engaged in work experience or work placements of up to one year.
- Individuals shadowing others at work.
- Workers participating in government pre-apprenticeship schemes.
- Participants in European Union (EU) programs such as Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus+, and Comenius.
- Individuals on a Jobcentre Plus Work trial for a duration of up to 6 weeks.
- Share fishermen.
- Individuals residing and working in a religious community.