National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - rates and overview

Who should be paid the minimum wage?


Most people above compulsory school age working legally in the UK are entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage. They must be aged 23 or over to get the National Living Wage.

Contracts for payments below the minimum wage are not legally binding. The worker is still entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.

Types of worker entitled to minimum wage

Workers are also entitled to the correct minimum wage if they are:

  • part-time workers
  • casual labourers
  • agency workers
  • workers and homeworkers paid by the number of items they make
  • apprentices
  • trainees, workers on probation
  • disabled workers
  • agricultural workers
  • foreign workers
  • seafarers
  • offshore workers

Workers are entitled to the minimum wage whether or not they have a written employment contract.

Examples of people not entitled to minimum wage

Some people who work in the UK are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage.

They include:

  • genuinely self-employed people
  • company directors
  • volunteers or voluntary workers
  • workers on a government employment programme
  • family members of the employer living in the employer's home
  • non-family members living in the employer's home who share in the work and leisure activities, are treated as one of the family and aren't charged for meals or accommodation eg au pairs
  • workers younger than school leaving age (usually 16)
  • higher and further education students on a work placement up to one year
  • workers on some government schemes or European Union programmes
  • members of the armed forces
  • share fishermen
  • prisoners
  • people living and working in a religious community

For more information see National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - who is not entitled to it.

  • Acas Helpline
    0300 123 1100