The national living wage and national minimum wage set minimum hourly rates that employers must legally pay workers in the UK.
How much is the national minimumwage?
National minimum wage levels vary, depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice. It is reviewed every year, with changes introduced every April.
From 1 April 2018, the hourly national minimum wage rates are:
- £7.83 for workers aged 25 and above (the so-called national living wage);
- £7.38 for workers aged 21-24;
- £5.90 for workers aged 18-20;
- £4.20 for workers aged 16-17;
- £3.70 for apprentices under 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship.
Before this, from 1 April 2017, they were:
- £7.50 for workers aged 25 and above;
- £7.05 for workers aged 21-24;
- £5.60 for workers aged 18-20;
- £4.05 for workers aged 16-17;
- £3.50 for apprentices under 19, or in the first year of their apprenticeship.
“National living wage”
The top tier of the national minimum wage, payable to workers aged 25 and over, was labelled as a “national living wage” when it was introduced by the government in April 2016.
The government has set a target for this wage to rise to 60% of average earnings by 2020. However, the wage does not truly reflect a living wage, since it is not based on the cost of living.
The Living Wage Foundation, an independent organisation that campaigns for a living wage based on the true cost of living, announces its independently calculated wage rate at the beginning of living Wage Week, which takes place over the first week of November every year.
The living wage currently stands at £8.75 an hour outside London, and £10.20 an hour in London.
Who is eligible for the national minimum wage ?
Most workers are eligible for the national minimum wage – even if you agree to work for less or your contract says you are entitled to less. Employers are legally required to pay at least the national minimum wage.
What to do if you are paid less than the national minimum wage
If you are being paid less than the national minimum wage, speak to your UNISON representative. They can help you receive the correct amount of pay.