The national minimum wage

Almost everyone who legally works in the UK must get a minimum level of pay. This is called the national minimum wage. You can be paid more than the national minimum wage but you must not be paid less.

On this page:

Who the minimum wage applies to

Most workers over compulsory school age working in the UK should be paid at least the national minimum wage. This includes:

  • workers over compulsory school age
  • overseas workers even if they are only in the UK for a short time
  • agency workers and homeworkers
  • some mariners (sailors)
  • agricultural workers (who may be entitled to more than the national minimum wage under the agricultural minimum wage)
  • Crown (government) employees
  • staff of the House of Commons and House of Lords

It does not apply to:

  • the self-employed, office holders, directors (unless they also have a worker's or employment contract)
  • the armed forces
  • share fishermen
  • voluntary workers (but only when specific circumstances apply)
  • prisoners working under prison rules
  • school children below school leaving age

You can find out more about who gets and who is not entitled to the minimum wage by following the links below.

Workers entitled to the national minimum wage on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

Who is not entitled to the national minimum wage on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

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Current rates

The hourly rates (amounts of money) for the national minimum wage may change each year. There are different rates for different age groups of workers and a rate for apprentices payable in certain circumstances. To find out the current minimum wage rates follow the link below.

The national minimum wage - read the current rates on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

More about Apprenticeships on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

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If you get less than the minimum wage

If you are being paid less than the minimum wage, phone the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on the number below. All calls to the helpline are confidential.

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Help

If you have any questions about the national minimum wage phone the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on Tel 0800 917 2368. Lines are open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm, Saturday.

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More useful links

The national minimum wage - learn more on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

Jobs - learn about your rights on GOV.UK (Opens new window)

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