What Is The National Minimum Wage?

by from money.co.uk, Last Updated: 7 November 2014

The national minimum wage is the least your employer can pay you, per hour, for the work you do for them. The UK minimum wage changes every October and you need to make sure that your earnings keep up. Here's how much you should be paid now.

Man working in supermarket holding apples

At the start of October 2014 the UK national minimum wage rate increased in line with inflation.

This means you need to make sure your earnings are adjusted in line with the new 2014/15 minimum wage rates if your pay is tied to that figure.

Here's what your employer needs to pay you for an hour's work now:

How much is the national minimum wage?

The minimum amount you should be paid will depend on your age and employment status.

Here are the current UK minimum wage rates:

  • Aged 21 or over: 6.50 per hour
  • Aged 18-20: 5.13 per hour
  • Aged 16-17: 3.79 per hour
  • Apprentices under 19 or aged 19 or over in their first year: 2.73 per hour

Who is entitled to the minimum wage?

If you are employed in the UK then it's highly likely that you will be entitled to the minimum wage.

It makes no difference how many hours you work, how you're paid, if you work at home or in an office or how many people work for the company that pays you.

Regardless of all these factors you are entitled to receive the UK minimum wage.

Who isn't entitled to the National Minimum Wage?

In very specific circumstances you may not be entitled to receive the minimum wage.

This could be the case if:

  • You're self employed
  • You work as a volunteer
  • You're classed as a voluntary worker
  • You're a company director
  • You're working in a government-approved pre-apprentice level scheme
  • You're working for a EC community programme
  • You're living in your employer's home
  • You're a member of the armed forces
  • You're in prison

If you are still unsure if you are excluded from the minimum wage you can find more information on the GOV.uk website.

What should you do if you're not being paid enough?

The minimum wage is a legal requirement so you're well within your rights to speak to your employer if you're being underpaid. This can sometimes feel awkward, but it's a must if you're not earning enough as they have no choice in the matter.

If you have no luck speaking to your employer, you should get in touch with the Pay and Work Rights Helpline - they can offer further help and if you wish lodge an official complaint on your behalf. Alternatively, you can submit an online enquiry on the GOV.uk website.

What will the next changes to the minimum wage be?

National minimum wage rates apply from October to September, meaning the next change will take effect from 1st October, 2015.

The new rates will be as follows:

  • Aged 21 or over: 6.70 per hour
  • Aged 18-20: 5.30 per hour
  • Aged 16-17: 3.87 per hour
  • Apprentices under 19 or aged 19 or over in their first year: 3.30 per hour


Dear Martin
I think " At the start of October 2013 the UK national minimum wage rate increased in line with inflation." should read " At the start of October 2012 ....."

"The new 2012/13 minimum wage rates apply immediately and you need to make sure your earnings are adjusted accordingly....." then makes sense.



by Loopydo, 13 Oct 2012

Thanks, Martin, our son was asking us about this just the other day but we weren't sure of the age grouping wages.

by save24, 16 Oct 2012

this doesn't help - I need from October 2013

by suevin, 2 Jan 2013

so do I

by brodjam, 20 Mar 2013

October 2013 minimum wage will be announced at the next Budget Statement, March 20th

by daviddo59, 4 Mar 2013

incorrect it isnt announced in the budget but normally around 12th april after the low pay commision set out their recomendations for the increase which the goverment usually ignore

by londonf62, 18 Apr 2013

so do we know what it is yet?

by steiff, 27 Mar 2013

Hi Steiff, the minimum wage for October 2013 was not mentioned directly in the Budget statement last week.

As soon as the details have been announced we will update this page.

by Martin from money.co.uk, 27 Mar 2013

6.31 p/h adult rate

by londonf62, 18 Apr 2013

Are there any Carers out there getting Carers Allowance and who work 16hrs per week, who are concerned that the NMW will increase too much, taking people over the £100 earnings limit?

by Milliemuir, 8 Apr 2013

Hi everyone,
The minimum wage levels as from October 2013 have now been confirmed; see the (last) section added to the guide above.

by BillJ, 15 Apr 2013

So the news about Minimum Wage from October is... £6.31 for 21 years and older. £5.03 for 18-20 year olds, and £2.68 for Apprentices. Hope this helps.

by daviddo59, 15 Apr 2013

I think it should also raise for 16-17 year old people.

by tyronepring, 16 Sep 2013

thats the rate of minimum wage now not from 2014

by annegr31, 21 Feb 2014

i bet all the minimum wage earners are overjoyed with the isa limit being increased to £15,000 a year,giving them flexibility with their savings.

by ian123, 21 Mar 2014

£2.68 an hour for apprentices aged 19 and under is a total disgrace and shames the British Government. Is that all our young people are worth £107 per week for working 40 hours.
Probably better off delivering newspapers.

by BIGRONALDO, 31 Jul 2014
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