National Minimum Wage is the minimum wage in which workers get paid per hour and what they are entitled to. Although the National Living Wage is higher than the Minimum Wage and workers get this if they are over the age of 23.

The National Minimum Wage came into force at the 1st of April 1999. The conventional wisdom of the time was that minimum wages simply forced low-paid workers out of their jobs, over the last 20 years, National Minimum Wage has shown that it was not necessary and has raised pay for the lowest paid without causing damage to employment.

It is known that around 30% of jobs have benefited from National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage and weekly pay has increased faster for workers with the lowest hourly wages.

Did you know?

The National Minimum rate has changed three times:

  • The National Minimum Wage for Apprenticeships- £4.81
  • The National Minimum Wage for under 18- £4.81
  • The National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20- £6.83.
  • The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 22- £9.18.
  • The National Minimum Wage for 23 and over- £9.50.

The structure of UK minimum wages has changed significantly since 1999 as there were only two rates one for workers aged 18-21 and one for those aged 22 and over.

As well as the structure changing, it has also grown fasters than nearly all international equivalents over the past 20 years, this has resulted to many workers benefitting from this increase.

Protecting youth employment has been an important priority, this has been found through economic research as it finds that younger workers are more susceptible to becoming unemployed during downturns.

As a whole the youngest, the oldest and female workers gain most from the minimum wage.

National Minimum Wage does not apply to;

Those workers who are younger than the school leaving age, those will usually be 16.

  • Self-employed people running their own business.
  • People who are volunteers.
  • Members of the armed forces.
  • Higher or further education students on experience or work placement up to one year.
  • Workers on a government employment programme, such as the Work Programme.