The minimum wage

What is the minimum wage in the UK? It changes at 16, 18, and 21, so make sure you're not being paid less than you should be.

Girl holding a pile of money

Make sure your pay stacks up.

What is the minimum wage?

The National Minimum Wage basically exists to protect you from being underpaid in hourly-paid jobs. Not only does it stop you being paid nearly nothing, it’s also reviewed every year to ensure the rates are fair.

How much should I get paid?

From 1st April 2020, the National Minimum Wage is:

£8.20 per hour for those aged 21 or over

£6.45 for those aged 18-20

£4.55 per hour for those aged 16-17

£4.15 an hour for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of their apprenticeship

First, talk to your employer. If you are worried about doing this you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau beforehand.

If this doesn’t work, you can call the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368, or fill out an online form, and they’ll help you with your dispute.

Alternatively, contact HMRC. If they find you’ve not been paid fairly, they’ll send out a notice to your employer asking them to pay you in arrears, plus an extra penalty for not paying minimum wage. If your employer still refuses to pay, HMRC will take them to court on your behalf.

You can also challenge them yourself by taking your case to an employment tribunal -although you only have three months to do this.

For more advice on getting paid what you deserve, read the advice on The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website.

Why wouldn’t I get the minimum wage?

You’re not eligible for the minimum wage if you’re:

  • Self-employed
  • An apprentice under the age of 19
  • On certain government schemes at pre-apprenticeship level
  • On a government employment programmes to give you training or work experience
  • Related to your boss and live in the same house as them
  • Living in the same house as your employer – e.g. nannies and au pairs
  • Do odd jobs for friends or neighbours
  • A member of the armed forces

What is the living wage?

The minimum wage and the living wage are the same, now. The living wage is an estimate of what is needed to live in the UK. However, if you live in London, the London living wage is £10.75 an hour.

Your employer does not legally have to pay you a living wage, but they can opt into doing it. You can find out more on the Living Wage Foundation’s website.

Next Steps

  • Find your local Citizens Advice here, for free and independent legal advice. Or call their helpline. 03454 04 05 06
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


work pay

By Toni

Updated on 18-Sep-2020