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

Who is an apprentice for national minimum wage purposes?


Apprentices for National Minimum Wage purposes are either:

  • those employed on a government funded apprenticeship
  • workers engaged under a contract of apprenticeship

Workers on other training schemes may not be entitled to the minimum wage. For more information, see government or EU funded schemes and programmes and the minimum wage.

Apprenticeship contracts

Generally speaking, an apprentice will have a written contract specifying:

  • the rights and obligations of the employer and the apprentice
  • what training is to be provided and to what level
  • the length of the apprenticeship
  • the pay rates

In the event of a dispute as to whether any particular contract is an apprenticeship contract, it will ultimately be a matter for the courts or tribunals to decide.

Training schemes to be treated like apprenticeships for minimum wage purposes

In Northern Ireland, workers engaged through the ApprenticeshipsNI scheme are to be treated as if they have an apprenticeship contract.

Participants on this scheme should normally have written agreements, in accordance with guidance from the Department for the Economy (DfE). See apprenticeships: delivering work-based training and qualifications to employees.