Q&As

Are there any exceptions to the requirement to pay the national minimum wage?

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Published on LexisPSL on 08/01/2015

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are there any exceptions to the requirement to pay the national minimum wage?
  • Workers only
  • No contracting out
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Company directors
  • Voluntary workers
  • Work experience and/or internships
  • Working as part of a further or higher education course: the ‘sandwich’ degree or course
  • Working in a family business
  • Live-in nannies, au pairs and housekeepers
  • More...

For further information relating to this topic generally, see:

  1. National minimum wage—Eligibility

  2. Employment-related statutory rates and limits table

  3. Minimum wage compliance checklist

  4. Deductions from wages

Some of the statutory exceptions to the right to be paid the national minimum wage are identified below. This answer focuses on the more common situations where this issue arises.

Workers only

Only ‘workers’ are entitled to be paid the national minimum wage—see our Practice Note: Worker status—Definition of 'worker'.

Agency workers who would otherwise not fall within the definition of a ‘worker’ because they do not have a contract with either the person supplying them or with the person to whom they are supplied are also entitled to be paid the national minimum wage.

Home workers who would not otherwise be ‘workers’ due to a lack of personal obligation in the contract to do the work themselves, are also entitled to be paid the national minimum wage.

The genuinely self-employed are not entitled to be paid the national minimum wage. See Checklist: features relevant to employee status and Minimum wage compliance checklist.

The national minimum wage is only payable once the worker has ceased to be of compulsory school age—see our Practice Note: Employing children and young persons.

No contracting out

It is not possible to contract out of the right to be paid the national minimum wage—see our Practice Note: National minimum wage—Contracting out.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Whether

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