Are employers required to pay school children on work experience the national minimum wage?
The national minimum wage does not apply to school children, regardless of whether they are undertaking work experience or whether they have, for example, a regular Saturday job.
Workers aged 16 and 17 are entitled to a national minimum wage of £4.55 per hour, provided that they have ceased to be of compulsory school age, except 16 and 17 year old apprentices, who are entitled to the apprenticeship rate of £4.15. In England and Wales, a child can leave school on the last Friday in June if they are 16 or will be 16 before the start of the next school year. In Northern Ireland, a person is no longer of compulsory school age after 30 June of the school year in which their 16th birthday occurs. In Scotland, pupils whose 16th birthday falls between 1 March and 30 September may not leave school before 31 May of that year. Pupils who attain the age of 16 between 1 October and the last day of February may not leave until the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.