National minimum wage
National minimum wage

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • National minimum wage
  • Eligibility
  • Excluded categories
  • The minimum hourly rate
  • Agricultural workers
  • Apprentices
  • Calculating the hourly rate
  • Checking pay against the minimum
  • Payments from the employer
  • Reductions
  • More...

National minimum wage

Statute guarantees a minimum hourly rate of pay to almost all adult workers.

Government guidance on calculating the national minimum wage is available for employers. The guidance includes a checklist for employers which highlights common causes of minimum wage underpayment and includes example scenarios and example calculations (using 2021/2022 minimum wage rates and age bands).


Most 'workers' who work in the UK are entitled to be paid the minimum wage. A person qualifies for the national minimum wage if they:

  1. are a worker (see Practice Note: Worker status—Definition of 'worker')

  2. who works, or ordinarily works, in the UK under their contract, and

  3. have ceased to be of compulsory school age (see Practice Note: Employing children and young persons—Employment of children)

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 (NMWA 1998) specifically includes:

  1. agency workers who would not otherwise fall within the definition of worker because of the absence of a worker's contract between the individual and the agent or the principal, and

  2. home workers who would not otherwise fall within the definition of worker, by removing the requirement that the work be performed 'personally' and defining home worker 'as an individual who contracts with a person, for the purposes of that person's business, for the execution of work to be done in a place not under the control or management of that person'

  3. those in Crown employment

  4. members of

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