Nearly all workers aged 16 and over are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. This includes part-time workers, fixed-term workers, agency workers, casuals, those on ‘zero-hours’ contracts and homeworkers.
But the minimum wage can vary according to your age and type of work. As of 1 April 2017, the current hourly rates are:
There is also a special apprenticeship rate of £3.50 an hour. This can only be paid to apprentices aged 16 to 18, and those aged 19 who are in their first year of their apprenticeship. For the rate to apply, both the employer and apprentice must have signed a valid Apprenticeship Agreement.
Minimum wage rates are reviewed each year, normally in April.
Your basic pay must be equal to or more than the National Minimum Wage, not including tips and gratuities or enhanced rates (e.g. time and a half).
However, while this is the legal minimum, many good employers will offer a higher basic rate, sometimes called the ‘real living wage’.
Each year, this rate is independently calculated, based on what workers and their families need to maintain a decent standard of living. But your employer has no statutory obligation to pay you this rate.