National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - rates and overview
National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates
The National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage in the UK apply to workers in Northern Ireland. These minimum wage rates are the hourly rates that workers should be paid by their employers depending on their age or whether they are an apprentice.
New rates from April 2024
From 1 April 2024, the minimum wage rates will increase and the National Living Wage will be extended to workers aged 21 years old and above. For further information, see minimum wage rates increase from 1 April 2024.
National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates change every April. The current minimum wage rates are in effect from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.
Minimum wage rates
The minimum wage rates for 2023-24 are:
|Minimum Wage Rates from 1 April 2023
|23 years old and over
|21-22 years old
|18-20 years old
|16-17 years old
*Apprentices under the age of 19 years old or aged 19 years old or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship are entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £5.28 per hour (this rate does not apply to Higher Level Apprenticeships).
Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they are aged 19 years or over and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship.
Previous minimum wage rates
For past minimum wage rates see National Minimum Wage: previous rates.
Who is entitled to be paid the minimum wage rate?
As an employer, you have a legal obligation to pay your workers the correct minimum wage rate at the very least. Ensure you understand who should be paid the minimum wage. Some people like the self-employed are not entitled to the minimum wage. For more guidance see self-employed and the minimum wage and National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - who is not entitled to it.
Employer requirements for the minimum wage
If a worker is entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, you must pay them at least the rate they are entitled to for the hours of work that qualify. You cannot make an agreement with a worker to pay them less than the minimum wage rate.
Which minimum wage rate applies to a worker?
You need to know which minimum wage rate applies to a worker - based on their entitlement at the start of each pay reference period. The minimum wage rate that applies to a worker is the rate they are entitled to on the first day of the pay reference period. For more information about pay reference periods see National Minimum Wage and Living Wage pay reference period.
Minimum wage rate example
For example, at age 20 a worker is entitled to the 18 to 20 years old minimum wage rate. From the first pay reference period starting on or after their 21st birthday, they become entitled to the 21 to 22 years old minimum wage rate. If you pay them for a pay reference period ending on a Friday and their birthday is on the following Wednesday - they will be entitled to the 21 to 22 years old minimum wage rate from the Saturday after their birthday.
As the minimum wage rates are age-related, you may need to ask workers to provide proof of their age.
Minimum wage rates for agricultural workers
Minimum wage rates for agricultural workers in Northern Ireland are different from the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates. These minimum wage rates for agricultural workers are set by the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) for Northern Ireland. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) provide further information on the agricultural rates of pay, orders and reports.
The minimum wage rates for agricultural workers in 2023-24 that took effect from 1 April 2023 are:
|Agricultural worker grade
|Current rates for 2023-24
|Grade 1 (minimum rate)
|Grade 2 (standard worker)
|Grade 3 (lead worker)
|Grade 4 (craft grade)
|Grade 5 (supervisory grade)
|Grade 6 (farm management grade)
Where at any time the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage, as applicable, becomes higher than the hourly rate set out above, then the hourly or other minimum rate will default to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, whichever applies.
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