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

Workers' entitlement to the minimum wage

Guide

The following types of workers are all entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.

Agency workers

If an agent or agency supplies someone to do work for you, then that person is a worker for minimum wage purposes. They are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage. Whoever is responsible for paying them - generally the agency - will be responsible for paying the minimum wage.

Agricultural workers

Agricultural workers still qualify for the minimum wage. Paying them the agricultural minimum wage will usually mean you are paying them at least the minimum wage. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that payment of the agricultural minimum wage also results in paying them at least the minimum wage. See minimum wage rates for agricultural workers.

Commission workers

If you pay someone entirely or partly on the basis of sales made or deals completed they are a commission worker. Commission workers are output workers for minimum wage purposes and must be paid either 'fair' piece rates or at least the minimum wage for every hour worked. For more information on calculating minimum wage pay for output workers see National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - paying workers for output work.

Disabled workers

Entitlement to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage applies to all workers. If a person with a disability is a worker for minimum wage purposes they must be paid at least the minimum wage.

However, some people with a disability undertake work-related activities for therapeutic reasons. Where these people are undertaking a purely therapeutic activity with no contractual obligation to work or right to any payment or other reward, they may not count as workers and, if not, will not be entitled to the minimum wage.

Trainees and staff on probation

If you have engaged someone as a trainee or on a period of probation they are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage. There are some exemptions for workers on specified training courses - see National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - who is not entitled to it. For apprentices, see apprentices' entitlement to the minimum wage rate.

Workers from outside the UK

Foreign workers, working in the UK are entitled to the minimum wage in exactly the same way as other workers. This is regardless of how long or short their stay may be or whether their employer is based in the UK or another country.

It is important you understand whether someone is legally entitled to work in the UK. For more information see ensuring your workers are eligible to work in the UK.

UK workers working abroad

If you send a worker, who usually works in the UK under their contract, temporarily outside of the UK to work, they must be paid at least the minimum wage for their work performed abroad.

If a worker works overseas for the majority of the time, then they generally do not need to be paid the minimum wage for the overseas work. However, they are likely to be covered by the employment rules in the country where they work. The situation for a worker will depend on their individual arrangements and employment contract. If you are unsure, you can contact the online Acas helpline for advice.