National Minimum Wage

The national minimum wage applies to nearly all workers and sets hourly rates below which pay must not be allowed to fall.

It is an important cornerstone of Government strategy aimed at providing employees with decent minimum standards and fairness in the workplace. It helps business by ensuring companies will be able to compete on the basis of quality of the goods and services they provide and not on low prices based predominantly on low rates of pay.

The rates set are based on the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission. The rates change on 1st October each year.

National Minimum Wage rates from 1 October 2007

  • Workers aged 22 and over - £5.52 per hour
  • Workers aged 18-21 -         £4.60 per hour
  • Workers aged 16-17 -         £3.40 per hour
  • Accommodation offset -      £4.30 per day (£30.10 per week)

New National Minimum Wage rates from 1 October 2008

  • Workers aged 22 and over - £5.73 per hour
  • Workers aged 18-21 -         £4.77 per hour
  • Workers aged 16-17 -         £3.53 per hour
  • Accommodation offset -      £4.46 per day (£31.22 per week)

To find out more:

For free confidential advice about the National Minimum Wage call the National Minimum Wage Helpline on 0845 6000 678. This is also the number to ring if you think you are being underpaid and wish to make a complaint. All complaints about underpayment of the National Minimum Wage are treated in the strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous if they wish to do so.

Proposed changes to how the National Minimum Wage is enforced are being taken forward by the Employment Bill which is currently going through Parliament. Subject to parliamentary approval, the Government intends the NMW provisions to come into force on 6 April 2009