UK Minimum Wage

The current National Living Wage for over 25s is £9.50 an hour. From April 2023, for adults over 23, the National Living Wage will be £10.42 an hour.

National Living/ Minimum Hourly Wage UK

Pay changes for the legal minimum wage in the UK.

Date 25 and over 23-24 21-22 18-20 Under 18s Apprentices
April 2024 £11.44 £11.44 £11.44 £8.60 £6.40 £6.40
April 2023 £10.42 £10.42 £10.18 £7.49 £5.28 £5.28
April 2022 £9.50 £9.50 £9.18 £6.83 £4.81 £4.81
April 2021 £8.91 £8.91 £8.36 £6.56 £4.62 £4.30
April 2020 £8.72 £8.20 £8.20 £6.45 £4.55 £4.15
April 2019 £8.21 £7.70 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90

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New Minimum Wage UK

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates are an hourly rate that depends on your current age and whether you are an apprentice.

From the 1st April 2024, the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage rates change to:

  • 21 and over: £11.44 hourly
  • 18 to 20: £8.60 hourly
  • Under 18: £6.40 an hour
  • Apprentices: £6.40 per hour

What is the National Living Wage?

The National Minimum Wage rates are for individuals who are at least at school leaving age, and up to the age of 20. The National Living Wage rates are for workers aged 21 or over.

The hourly rates for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage change annually, on the 1st April. 

What is the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage?

The apprenticeship minimum pay is for apprentices that are aged under 19. People aged 19 or over and who are on their first year of their apprenticeship, are also entitled to this pay rate.

If the individual is aged 19 or over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then the apprentice rate is replaced by the National Minimum Wage for their age.

For example

UK wage rates for a 21 year old in the second year of their apprenticeship, after the 1st April 2024, will earn an hourly rate of £11.44 per hour. This rate is a significant pay boost, compared to the apprentice rate of £6.40 per hour.

How do I know if I am getting the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage?

To discover if you are correctly receiving the current rates, you can use the Minimum Wage Calculator. This helpful tool will also tell you what employers owe you, if an underpayment has occurred.

What Should I do if I am not Receiving Minimum Wage in England, Wales, or Scotland?

If you are not receiving the National Minimum Wage, you should contact Acas. Acas offers free and confidential advice to employees, employers, and their representatives, on matters of employment rights, policies, and best practices. If you lodge a complaint about fair pay and not receiving the correct minimum wage for a pay reference period, it will be directed to the relevant office, which in the case of the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (NLW) is HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC).

You can ask your employer for your payment records and make a copy of your personal or financial information, ahead of contacting Acas and completing their feedback form.

What Should I do if I am not Receiving Minimum Wage in Northern Ireland?

If you are not receiving the minimum wage, you can visit the Labour Relations Agency website or call their helpline on 03300 555 300.

What does not Count Towards the National minimum Wage?

Sometimes your employer may pay you a higher rate, than your standard rate of pay. You might be paid more on Bank Holidays, night shifts, overtime, weekends, or if you complete more than a set number of hours. Each of these are considered a premium element and do not count towards your minimum wage. However, the premium element is only the part of the hourly rate that exceeds the minimum hourly rate.

How will the New National Living Wage affect me?

If you are earning the 2023 £10.42 per hour National Minimum Wage, on the 1st April your new UK Living Wage rate will be £11.44 an hour. According to the BBC, workers who may not be entitles to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) include the self-employed, company directors, volunteers, members of the armed forces, and people living and working in a religious community.

National Minimum Wage Announcement

The National Minimum Wage announcement is made official as part of the Budget. The government follows the recommendations made by independent advisors, the Low Pay Commission

The government has been under pressure to help low-paid younger workers, who have faced the worst financial effects caused by the pandemic. 

How does the National Minimum Wage Compare to the Rise of Living Costs?

The current cost of living rise is 4.6% (October 2023 compared to October 2022). The wage increase for low paid workers, aged 23 or over, will be 9.79%, more than twice the cost of living rise. The pay rise should make a significant difference for those receiving basic pay.

Minimum Wage for Younger Workers

The National Minimum Wage for younger workers also increases significantly. The National Minimum Wage for employees aged between 21 and 22, goes up to £11.44 and £6.40 for those working on an apprenticeship. The previous rates were £10.18 and £5.28, respectively.

The Living Wage Foundation welcomed the rise, and Director, Katherine Chapman, said "A rise in the statutory National Living Wage from next April is welcome news for low paid workers but it still falls short of the voluntary real Living Wage which is £12 per hour in the UK and £13.15 per hour for workers in London. There are now 14,000 Living Wage accredited employers across the UK who are committed to always paying everyone in their organisation, including contractors like cleaners and security guards, a real Living Wage based on the cost of living. Despite tough economic times, it has been heartening to see record numbers of businesses join our movement and we'd encourage other organisations who can, to make the Living Wage commitment too."

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) estimates that about 2.7 million workers entitled to the National Living Wage will directly benefit from the rise in 2024.

Agricultural Workers Benefits

The wages and money paid to agricultural workers in Northern Ireland are set at a different minimum amount. They cannot be paid less than the National Living Wage or Minimum Wage, with some entitled to more money. How much they are paid depends on their grade, categorised at grade 1-6.

Most workers are classed as grade one for the bulk of the first year (forty weeks), before becoming a grade two standard worker. Workers classed as lead worker, craft grade, supervisory grade, and farm management grade are entitled to be paid more money, ensuring better living standards for more experienced workers.

What is the Real Living Wage

The Real Living Wage is an independently calculated pay rate that is based on rising living costs, including spend on energy, fuel service charges, food, rent and other payments. The  Real Living Wage is higher than the government’s National Living Wage and is paid by businesses who have committed to being a Living Wage Employer.

The Real Living Wage for a full time worker in the UK will be £12 (up from £10.90). The Real London Living Wage will be £13.15 (up from £11.95). According to the Living Wage Foundation, who calculate the required living wages, projections indicate that 15.7% of employee jobs fall short of the Real Living Wage, equating to some 4.3 million jobs in 2023.

National Minimum Wage FAQs

Here we answer the most frequently asked questions on pay.

What is the UK Minimum Wage 2023 UK?

The UK Minimum Wage is the rate an employer must pay to people above school leaving age, up to the age of 22. The employer must pay the National Living Wage, to people aged 23 and over. The minimum pay for workers in the UK during 2023 to 31st March 2024 are:

  • 23 and over: £10.42
  • 21 to 22: £10.18
  • 18 to 20: £7.49
  • Under 18: £5.28
  • Apprentices: £5.28

What will the UK minimum wage be in 2024?

An employer must pay their staff the following rates from the 1st April 2024:

  • 21 and over : £11.44
  • 18 to 20: £8.60
  • Under 18: £6.40
  • Apprentices: £6.40

What is the living wage UK 2021?

The National Living Wage is the minimum wage an employer must pay (before tax and national insurance), as set by the government. The Real Living Wage is the starting salary rate an employer pays if they commit to the recommendations made by the Living Wage Foundation. The guidance (21 and over age group) is making work pay a higher UK rate with a difference of £0.66 hourly, compared to the rate stipulated by the government. Workers with an age of 21 and over would be entitled to a rate of £12, following Real Living Wage guidance.

What is minimum wage for 40 hour week?

The minimum wage for 40 hours a week for people aged 21 and over is £457.60 per week or £23,795.20 per year. The minimum wage for 40 hours a week for people aged 18 to 20 is £344 per week or £17,888 per year. The minimum wage for 40 hours a week for apprentices and people aged under 18 is £256 per week or £13,312 per year.

What is the minimum wage for over 25 year olds?

The minimum wage for over 25 year olds is £11.44 per hour.

What is minimum wage for 16 year old?

The minimum wage for 16 year olds is £6.40 per hour.

Hourly Living Wage UK Rates 2022

The Living Wage Foundation sets its own Living Wage rate which a larage number of businesses use instead of the UK Government's legal minimum rate.

The Living Wage Foundation sets two rates; one for London, and a lower rate for outside of London.

Region Rate
London £11.05
Outside London £9.90

Lowest Paying Cities

Cities ranked by lowest average salary

Location Difference to Average Salary
Glasgow -35% £21,273.68
Bristol -29% £23,225.63
Belfast -26% £24,114.69
Wakefield -10% £29,404.61
Bradford -7% £30,488.89
Sheffield -4% £31,335.65
Edinburgh -3% £31,740.41
Liverpool -1% £32,220.91
Sunderland -1% £32,344.15
Newcastle upon Tyne 1% £32,914.39
Coventry 1% £32,920.67
Nottingham 2% £33,257.69
Leicester 2% £33,332.19
Cardiff 3% £33,628.88
Leeds 4% £33,868.97
Birmingham 14% £37,088.67
Reading 17% £38,352.90
London 25% £40,701.42

Lowest Paying Home Nations and Regions of the UK

Regions ranked by lowest average salary

Location Difference to Average Salary
Isle of Man -57% £14,025.21
Northern Ireland -17% £27,217.72
Scotland -9% £29,675.51
North East -8% £30,016.75
Yorkshire and the Humber -6% £30,547.99
Wales -6% £30,672.10
South West -5% £30,925.71
East Midlands -5% £31,016.05
West Midlands -5% £31,059.11
North West -4% £31,358.22
South East -2% £31,938.17
Eastern -1% £32,154.14
London 25% £40,701.42

Lowest Paying Salaries By City

Low Paid Jobs By City

Location Salary
Belfast £18.23
Birmingham £11,689.99
Bradford £17,765.70
Cardiff £13,802.05
Coventry £15,371.08
Edinburgh £14.44
Leeds £14,545.94
Leicester £16,116.12
Liverpool £6,033.93
London £6.00
Newcastle upon Tyne £17,038.61
Nottingham £9,951.08
Reading £12,877.83
Sheffield £14,194.16
Sunderland £17,384.40
Wakefield £17,430.54

Lowest Paying Salaries By Region

Low Paid Jobs By Region

Location Salary
England £11.00
Scotland £13.37
Wales £10.81
Northern Ireland £3,424.61
East Midlands £10.44
Eastern £13.52
Isle of Man £14,025.21
London £6.00
North East £814.72
North West £10.64
South East £11.30
South West £9.09
West Midlands £2,571.88
Yorkshire and the Humber £476.13