National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - rates and overview

Calculating minimum wage pay


A worker's pay for minimum wage purposes must be calculated in a particular way. The starting point is the worker's total pay in a pay reference period before income tax and National Insurance contributions are deducted. Then you need to work out which elements of pay count towards minimum wage and those elements that do not count for minimum wage purposes.

The National Living Wage was extended to workers aged 21 years old and above from 1 April 2024.

What counts as pay for minimum wage purposes?

Elements that do count towards minimum wage are:

  • incentive payments - these count towards minimum wage pay if they relate solely to the performance of a worker, such as payments made as part of an incentive, sales commission, merit, or any performance pay scheme
  • bonuses

For further details see what counts as minimum wage pay.

What does not count as pay for minimum wage purposes?

Elements that do not count towards minimum wage are:

  • tips, gratuities, service and cover chargesloans
  • overtime and shift premia
  • allowances
  • payments by an employer to reimburse a worker's expense
  • benefits in kind eg fuel, meals, car, medical insurance, child care vouchers
  • loans
  • advances of wages
  • pension payments
  • lump sums on retirement
  • redundancy payments
  • rewards under staff suggestion schemes
  • shares and share options

For those elements that do not count towards the minimum wage you must either not include them at all, such as loans or different pay rates for different jobs, or deduct specific premium amounts eg when paying a higher rate than the standard rate for some work such as overtime.

For further details see pay that does not count towards the minimum wage - overtime and shift rates.

Including payments that do not count as pay for the minimum wage can wrongly appear that you have paid the minimum wage when in fact you have not.

For full details see calculating the minimum wage.

Minimum wage calculator

You should use the minimum wage calculator for employers to check if you are paying the correct minimum wage or if you owe a payment from the previous year. Employers who discover they've paid a worker below the correct minimum wage must pay any arrears immediately.

If you are unsure about any aspect of minimum wage entitlement you can contact the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

  • Acas Helpline
    0300 123 1100