National minimum wage

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

  • National minimum wage
  • Eligibility
  • Excluded categories
  • Work experience exemption
  • Family worker exemption
  • The minimum hourly rate
  • Agricultural workers
  • Agricultural workers in Wales
  • Apprentices
  • Calculating the hourly rate
  • More...

National minimum wage

FORTHCOMING CHANGE: The Low Pay Commission's recommendations on the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates for April 2022 have been accepted in full by the government. From 1 April 2022 the increased rates will be: a national living wage rate of £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over (up from £8.91), a rate of £9.18 (up from £8.36) for 21–22 year olds, a youth development rate for 18-20 year olds of £6.83 (increased from £6.56) and a rate of £4.81 (up from £4.62) for 16–17 year olds. The apprentice rate will increase by 11.9% to £4.81 (from £4.30) and the accommodation offset will be £8.70 (up from £8.36). For further information, see: LNB News 28/10/2021 8.

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

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