What is the national living wage?

The national living wage is the statutory minimum wage rate that must be paid to workers aged 25 and over. The rate of the national living wage is £8.21 per hour from 1 April 2019.

Lower minimum wage rates apply to workers who are aged at least 21 but under 25; at least 18 but under 21; and under 18 and no longer of compulsory school age. There is a separate rate for apprentices who are aged under 19 or in the first 12 months of the apprenticeship.

The Low Pay Commission is responsible for recommending the rate of the national living wage. On 30 September 2019, the Government announced that it intends for the rate to reach two-thirds of median earnings within five years. It also pledged to reduce the age threshold for the national living wage rate so that it applies to workers aged 23 and over from 2021, and to workers aged 21 and over within five years.

The national living wage is not related to the living wage rate used by the Living Wage Foundation, which campaigns for minimum pay levels to reflect the basic cost of living.