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 21 years old or over to get the National Living Wage.

The National Living Wage was extended to workers aged 21 years old and above from 1 April 2024.

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 workers 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
  • non-family members living in the employer's home who share in the work and leisure activities and are treated as one of the family, for example, au pairs

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:

  • self-employed people running their own business
  • company directors
  • volunteers or voluntary workers
  • workers on a government employment programme
  • members of the armed forces
  • family members of the employer living in the employer's home
  • workers younger than school leaving age (usually 16 years old)
  • higher and further education students on a work placement for up to one year
  • people shadowing others at work
  • workers on government pre-apprenticeship schemes
  • people on the following European Union (EU) programmes: Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus+, Comenius
  • people working on a Jobcentre Plus Work trial for up to 6 weeks
  • share fishermen
  • prisoners
  • people living and working in a religious community

Employers who offer internships, sometimes referred to as work placements or work experience should check if the person is entitled to the minimum wage. See employment rights and pay for interns.

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

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