Knowing the latest minimum wage regulations in the UK is essential for both employers and employees. This guide will help you understand who qualifies for the minimum wage, what jobs can pay below it, and how the minimum wage changes with age.

Who Qualifies for the National Living Wage?

The National Living Wage is the minimum hourly rate employers must pay their workers age 25 and over. It was introduced in April 2016 as part of a government move to ensure that everyone earns at least a living wage. Currently, the National Living Wage is £9.50 per hour for anyone aged 23 and over.

This rate needs to be reviewed every April by the government, and will be increasing to £10.42 in 2023.

What Are the Current Rates in the UK?

The National Living Wage of £9.50 per hour applies to all employees aged 23 and over who are eligible to receive it, and is guaranteed to increase every April. Lower rates apply to those younger than 23:

  • £9.18 for those aged 21 to 22.
  • £6.83 for those aged 18 to 20.
  • £4.81 for those aged under 18.
2023 UK minimum wage rates

Is The Minimum Wage Paid to Apprentices Different?

Yes, the minimum wage rate for apprentices aged under 19 or in their first year of an apprenticeship is £4.81 per hour, regardless of age. Apprentices aged 19 or over and who have completed their first year of an apprenticeship are entitled to receive the same rate as other employees who fall into their age bracket.

Moreover, apprentices must receive at least time-and-a-half for any hours they work over 40 hours in a week.

How will the minimum wage change in 2023?

The minimum wage will be increasing in April of 2023, as it does every year. Below is the full table of current rates and their 2023 increase.

 23 and over21 to 2218 to 20Under 18Apprentice
April 2022£9.50£9.18£6.83£4.81£4.81

April 2023


Do The Regulations Apply to All Employees?

Yes, the minimum wage rate must be paid to every worker aged 16 and over, regardless of whether they are a part-time, casual employee or working full-time on a permanent contract. In addition, it is illegal for employers to pay apprentices under 19 (and those in their first year of an apprenticeship) less than £4.15 per hour. Employers are also required to keep records showing that all workers have been paid at least the national minimum wage.

Some workers are not entitled to the minimum wage, such as self-employed individuals, company directors, volunteers, and workers younger than school leaving age (usually 16).

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