If you are a worker aged under 23, or an apprentice, you are legally entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage rate.
Not sure what your current hourly minimum wage pay rate is? Use our calculator to check.
|Date||23 & over||21 to 22||18 to 20||Under 18||Apprentice|
|1 April 2021 (current rate)||£8.91||£8.36||£6.56||£4.62||£4.30|
|From April 2022||£9.50||£9.18||£6.83||£4.81||£4.81|
It is illegal for your employer to pay you less than the National Minimum Wage, so check your pay and talk to your manager to make sure you’re getting the pay rate increase you are entitled to.
Feel uncomfortable talking to your manager? Call the Acas helpline for confidential advice and support.
Think you are being underpaid? Register a confidential complaint with HMRC. Your details will not be shared with your employer.
If you’re an employer, by law, from 1 April you must pay workers under 23 at least the legal National Minimum Wage 2021 pay rate. Find out more.
Check whether any of these common minimum wage payment mistakes could apply to you and make sure you’re not missing out.
I’m in my second year of apprenticeship and my employer still only pays me £4.30 per hour.
If you are aged 18 or under then your employer is paying you the correct rate. If you are 19 and over your employer must pay you the higher rate relevant to your age group.
My employer pays me the apprentice rate of £4.30 per hour but I don’t officially start my apprenticeship for another two months.
It is illegal for your employer to pay you the apprentice rate before or after your apprenticeship. You are entitled to be paid the higher rate relevant to your age group.
I’m not being paid for the time I spend training.
Time spent training is working time so you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for this time. It does not matter whether training takes place at work, college or elsewhere. The training can even be outside normal working hours.
How to complain to HMRC if you’re not paid correctly
This video explains how you can complain to HMRC if you’re not being paid the correct National Minimum Wage.
Check whether any of these common minimum wage payment mistakes could apply to you and make sure you’re not missing out. If you’re being underpaid, talk to your employer. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, consider making a complaint to HMRC. If your employer owes you back pay, you are legally entitled to that wage money. You can also call the Acas helpline for free and confidential advice on 0300 123 1100.
I'm on furlough. Should I still be paid the minimum wage?
I've been underpaid, how do I get my money back?
If you think you’ve been underpaid the minimum wage make a complaint to HMRC about your employer. HMRC will contact you for any further details as needed and if it looks like you have not been paid correctly they will investigate your employer.
HMRC will keep you updated on progress of any investigation. If at the end of the investigation you are owed any arrears of pay, your employer will pay these to you directly.
Are tips counted as part of National Living or Minimum Wage?
If you receive tips at work, they cannot legally count towards your National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage rate. If tips are counted as part of your pay, and you rely on them to bring your pay up to the National Living or Minimum Wage pay rate, then you could be underpaid and not receiving the wages you are legally owed.
Is my employer allowed to deduct the cost of work wear or tools from my wages?
If your employer has deducted your wages, or you’ve had to pay, the cost of items connected with your job such as uniform, a required dress code, safety clothing or tools etc. then you may have been underpaid. Deductions or payments for items connected with the job must not take you below the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage 2021 rates for any given pay period.
Should I get paid for travel while I'm working?
Time spent travelling between different assignments whilst at work, is time spent working. You should be paid at least the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage for this travelling time.
I often start early, or leave late, should I be paid for this time?
Additional working time added on to a worker’s shift, before the start or after it ends should be paid at least the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage. Examples include time spent passing through security checks, attending handover meetings between shifts or helping to open up shop before trading begins.
It was my birthday recently, should my employer increase my pay based on my age?
Your age affects the pay rate you should receive on the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage. If your employer didn’t review your pay on either your 18th, 21st, or 23rd (from 1 April 2021) or 25th birthday (prior to April 2021) and was slow to make any adjustments, you might not have got all the pay that you’re owed. From 1 April 2021 the National Living Wage applies to 23 year olds.
I'm in the second year of my apprenticeship, how much should I be paid?
If you are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, then you are legally entitled to at least the National Living and Minimum Wage rates relevant to your age group.
Is there a helpline I can speak to for further advice?
Yes, Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) provides free, confidential and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. The helpline has a free translation service for over 100 languages and can be called on 0300 123 1100.
You can ask Acas about:
- Employment rights and responsibilities
- Pay and the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage
Find out more information about Acas.
What happens if HMRC investigates my employer?
If HMRC investigates your employer and concludes that the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage has not been paid to a worker or group of workers, it will issue a Notice of Underpayment to that employer which sets out the arrears to be paid to the workers together with a penalty imposed on the employer. The employer may also be publicly named.
Arrears paid to workers can go back a number of years, are paid at the higher current National Living or Minimum Wage rates and your employer will have to pay the correct pay rates going forward.
HMRC will keep you updated on progress of any investigation.
When HMRC investigates an individual worker complaint, it is often the case that other workers in the same or similar situation end up being paid arrears too.
Do I still need to be working for the employer?
No. You don’t still have to be working for the employer in question to make a complaint.
Will my employer find out who complained?
No. If you make a complaint and wish to remain anonymous, HMRC can hide your identity from an employer during any investigation.
Can I complain to HMRC on behalf of somebody else?
Yes. HMRC act on information from a range of sources, however those who make a complaint on the behalf of others will not be updated on the progress of any employer investigation.
The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates go up on 1 April 2021. Make sure you update your payroll so your employees get paid at least what they are legally entitled to.
From 1 April 2021 the National Living Wage will apply to workers aged 23 and over.
National Living and Minimum Wage rates
|Date||23 & over||21 to 22||18 to 20||Under 18||Apprentice|
|From 1 April 2021||£8.91||£8.36||£6.56||£4.62||£4.30|
If you’re not sure what rate you’re paying your employees, use our calculator to check.
You can call the Acas Helpline to get advice and support to ensure that you understand what you need to do to pay your employees correctly.
Even if you are paying your employees at or above the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage, you could still be underpaying them. This can easily happen when an employer makes wage deductions or doesn’t pay for all time worked.
Some of the most common mistakes are listed below. Check whether any of them could apply to your staff. If you discover you have been paying your employees below the correct minimum wage, you must pay any arrears immediately.
Are your employee’s tips counted as part of their pay?
If an employee receives tips at work, they cannot legally be counted towards their National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage entitlement, they must be paid on top. If tips are counted as part of their pay, and you rely on them to bring their pay up to the National Living or Minimum Wage, then you could be illegally underpaying your staff.
Are your employees being paid while travelling for work?
Do you deduct the cost of work wear or tools from your employee’s wages?
If you have deducted your employee’s wages to cover the cost of items connected with their job such as uniform, a required dress code, safety clothing, or tools etc. then you may have been underpaying them. Deductions or payments made by workers for items connected with the job must not take a worker below the National Living or Minimum Wage for any given pay period.
Do your employees often start early or leave late and are not paid for this time?
If you require your employees to work any additional time added onto their shift, before the start or after it ends, but don’t pay for this time you could be illegally underpaying them. Examples include time spent passing through security checks, attending handover meetings between shifts or helping to open up shop before trading begins. If you do this regularly, this unpaid time can quickly add up and you might find that you are failing to pay the National Living or Minimum Wage.
Do you employ apprentices?
The apprentice National Minimum Wage rate applies to genuine apprentices only, those employed on a recognised apprenticeship scheme or engaged under a contract of apprenticeship. Apprenticeships must incorporate structured training.
If an apprentice is aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then they are legally entitled to at least the National Living or Minimum Wage relevant to their age group.
Apprentice training or study time is working time so should be paid accordingly.
Have any of your employees had a birthday recently that has increased their entitlement?
Age affects the rate an employee should be paid on the National Living or Minimum Wage. If you didn’t review your employee’s pay on their 18th, 21st or 25th birthdays and were slow to make any adjustments, you may not have been paying them correctly. From 1 April 2021 the National Living Wage applies to 23 year olds.
When do I start paying the new National Living and Minimum Wage rates?
The new National Living and Minimum Wage rates are being introduced on the 1 April 2021. Employers must start applying the new rates in the first pay reference period that starts on or after this date. Pay reference periods are usually set by how often someone is paid, for example one week or one month.