The Minimum Wage

The basics:

  • If you are aged 16 or over, you are legally entitled to be paid a Minimum Wage Rate per hour.
  • National Minimum Wage rates vary according to your age and employment terms, and are reviewed annually.
  • There are currently three levels of minimum wage: If you’re under the age of 18 and no longer of Mandatory School Leaving Age, the minimum wage is £3.64 per hour; if you’re between the ages of 18 and 20, it’s £4.92 per hour; while from the age of 21, the minimum wage is £5.93 per hour. The apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship is £2.50.
  • The age at which you become entitled to the main rate was reduced from 22 to 21 on 1 October 2010. The apprentice rate was introduced on the same date.
  • To find the Minimum Wage you are entitled to or for further information contact the Helpline on 0845 6000 678.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) aims to provide employees with decent minimum standards and fairness in the workplace. It applies to nearly all workers and sets hourly rates below which pay must not be allowed to fall.

The rates set are based on the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission. The Low Pay Commission was established as a result of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to advise the Government about the National Minimum Wage. You can find out more about the Low Pay Commission by visiting their website at

Who can help?

For more information on the minimum wage and what you are entitled to, visit the Low Pay Commission website at You can also call the Low Pay Commission Helpline on 0845 6000 678. The Helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm. All calls are taken in confidence and callers can be assisted in 30 languages.

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