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

When don't I have to pay the minimum wage?

Guide

The following are indicators that an individual who is performing work for you or your organisation may not be entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.

The individual is a worker who is exempt from the minimum wage by law

A limited number of groups are classified as workers but are exempt from the minimum wage under minimum wage law. This includes students undertaking work experience as a required part of a UK higher or further education course, some participants in specified government work or training schemes, and voluntary workers. See National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - who is not entitled to it.

The individual is performing work as a volunteer

In general an individual working as a volunteer is someone who:

  • Undertakes work for a particular organisation for no financial reward or benefit, aside from reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Does not have to turn up for work if they do not wish to. It is irrelevant whether the work is performed for altruistic or other reasons, eg to enhance the individual's CV. For further information see National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - volunteers and voluntary workers.

An individual's entitlement to the minimum wage - and your liability to pay them - does not depend on their job title but on the contract or arrangement you have with them. For further guidance on workers who are entitled to the minimum wage, see the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage checklist. If in doubt, call the Acas Helpline on Tel 0300 123 1100 for free, confidential advice.