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The national minimum wage

Updating author: Nicky Stibbs


  • The law relating to the national minimum wage is governed by the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/621). The Regulations, which came into force on 6 April 2015, replaced and consolidated the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/584) and amending Regulations, which were revoked.
  • The majority of workers aged 16 and over qualify to receive the national minimum wage. Exclusions from the right include au pairs, family members in the family business and voluntary workers. (See Eligibility for the national minimum wage)
  • From 1 April 2016, there is a new rate of the national minimum wage, referred to as the "national living wage", for workers aged 25 or over. (See National living wage)
  • There are five rates of payment for the national minimum wage. (See Rate of the national minimum wage)
  • Calculating whether an employee has been paid the national minimum wage can be very complicated. In essence, the employer should divide the number of hours worked by the amount of pay, but there are different rules relating to different types of work. (See Amount payable, Pay reference period and Hours worked during the pay reference period)
  • Employers must keep records that show that they have paid their workers the national minimum wage for three years after the pay reference period following the pay period that the records cover. (See National minimum wage records)

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