What is the National Minimum Wage?

Updated on 16 November 2017

Under UK law, employees and ‘workers’ are entitled to certain rights, including a minimum wage: the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW).

What are the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW)?

The UK law gives protection to employees and sometimes ‘workers’, and gives them the right to things like holidays, holiday pay, a healthy and safe workplace, freedom from discrimination, and a minimum wage.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) guarantees that you will receive at least that amount of pay per hour.

The National Living Wage (NLW) was introduced from 1 April 2016 and is essentially a premium on top of the NMW for certain workers.

You can find more information about the NMW and NLW in the ‘employed section’.

You can find more information about employment rights in general from ACAS.

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What are the current rates?

There is information on the NMW and NLW rates in the ‘employed section’.

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Can I ever receive less than the NMW or the NLW?

Your employer cannot pay you less than the NMW, or the NLW if you are entitled to it, even if you are willing to accept it. In certain circumstances your employer can count some of the value of any accommodation that they provide you with towards the NMW or NLW. There is more information, including an example of how the offset rate for accommodation charges works, in the ‘employed section’.

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Who is entitled to the NMW or NLW?

Almost all employees and ‘workers’ over school leaving age in the UK are entitled to receive the NMW – this includes full and part-time employees, agency workers, migrant workers and casual workers. There is more information in the ‘employed section’.

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What should I do if I do not receive the NMW or the NLW?

There is information on what to do if you think you are not getting the NMW or NLW in the ‘employed section’.

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Where can I get more help?

There is information about where you can get more help in the ‘employed section’.

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