The national minimum wage

Entitlement to the national minimum wage

You have to pay at least the national minimum wage to most of your workers, including temporary, part-time, casual and homeworkers, as well as those working for you via an agency and those working on a commission basis.

National minimum wage rates

There are four rates:

  • the main rate (also called the standard or adult rate) applies to all employees aged 21 or over unless they fall within one of the exceptions, or another rate applies
  • the development rate applies to all workers aged 18 to 20 inclusive
  • the third rate applies to 16 and 17-year-olds who are above compulsory school leaving age (but not apprentices)
  • the apprentice rate

In England & Wales, a person is above the compulsory school leaving age (and therefore becomes entitled to the minimum wage for 16 and 17 year-olds) after the last Friday in June of the school year in which their 16th birthday occurs.

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