National Minimum Wage

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced on 1 April 1999 and is reviewed each year by the Low Pay Commission.

From April 2016 the National Living Wage (NLW) has been introduced for workers aged 25 and over.

Employers are liable to be penalised for not complying with the NMW and NLW rules.

The rates of the NMW and NLW


Rate from 1 April 2017Rate from 1 April 2018
NLW for workers aged 25 and over7.507.83
NMW the rate for workers aged 21-247.057.38
the 18-20 rate5.605.90
the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age4.054.20
the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship3.503.70

There are no exemptions from paying the NMW on the grounds of the size of the business.
If you are of compulsory school age you are not entitled to the NMW.

Those excluded from the National Minimum Wage.

  • The self–employed.
  • Child workers – anyone of compulsory school age (until the last Friday in June of the school year they turn 16).
  • Company directors without contracts of employment.
  • Some other trainees on government funded schemes or programmes supported by the European Social Fund.
  • Students doing work experience as part of a higher education course.
  • People living and working within the family.
  • Friends helping out under informal arrangements.
  • Members of the armed forces.
  • Certain government schemes at pre–apprenticeship level.
  • Government employment programmes
  • European Community programmes.
  • Share fishermen.
  • Prisoners.
  • Volunteers and voluntary workers.
  • Religious and other communities.

The penalties for non–compliance.

From 1 April 2016, the government increased the penalties from 100% to 200% of arrears owed to workers. The maximum penalty is £20,000 per worker.

The penalty is reduced by 50% if the unpaid wages and the penalty are paid within 14 days.

More Information On The National Minimum Wage

If you have any questions about your obligations as an employer to pay the national minimum wage feel free to get in touch with us. We’re always happy to help.