National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - who must be paid it

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage: things to consider

Guide

In determining whether an individual is a worker who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, you should note the following:

  • An individual can be a volunteer even if they are carrying out activities under the supervision or control of a manager/director, having to meet specific standards or guidelines, or holding a position for a particular duration. However, HM Revenue & Customs may investigate further if they consider that there may be an underlying contract of employment or other arrangement which entitles the individual to the minimum wage.
  • Whether someone is a worker does not depend on what job title you give them - for example calling someone an 'unpaid worker', 'intern' or a 'volunteer' does not prevent them from qualifying for the minimum wage if they really are a worker.
  • An employer may not force or persuade a worker who is entitled to the minimum wage to agree to a wage below the minimum wage. The law prevents workers from signing away their right to the minimum wage and such an agreement would not be enforceable.
  • If an individual claims that they are a worker who is owed arrears of the minimum wage, the onus of proving that they are not rests with the person they consider to be their employer.

You can use the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage checklist to help you decide if someone who does work for you is entitled to the minimum wage.

The Acas Helpline on Tel 0300 123 1100 also provides free, confidential advice to employers who want guidance on whether an individual is a worker for minimum wage purposes.