MOST workers in the UK are entitled to the National Minimum Wage, but the amount they are paid depends on their age.
You must be at least 16 years of age to get the legal minimum payment – here are the rates for 2021 and how much you will be paid in April 2022 when they rise.
Companies are even named and shamed if they don’t pay the basic amount required by the law.
The minimum wage in the UK increased in April 2021, giving a pay rise to more than two million workers.
The minimum wage will rise again in April 2022, the government has confirmed.
But what is the National Minimum Wage? We explain all you need to know.
What is the National Minimum Wage rate?
The National Minimum Wage is currently the amount workers under 23 (but of school-leaving age) are entitled to.
For workers aged 23 and above the National Living Wage applies.
The National Minimum Wage for older workers was rebranded as the National Living Wage in 2015.
The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage are also different from the Real Living Wage – a voluntary minimum that some employers commit to paying which is currently £9.90 or £11.05 in London.
The first National Minimum Wage was set in 1998 by the Labour government.
Before that, no official rate existed although trade unions battled hard to fight their members’ corner.
The exact amount under-23s get under the National Minimum Wage depends on their age.
Here are the rates for the National Minimum Wage for 2021 and 2022.
Those aged 21-22 are entitled to at least £8.36 an hour. It will rise to £9.18 an hour from April 2022.
For 18- to 20-year-olds, the minimum wage is £6.56 – and £6.83 from next year.
And for under-18s, it’s £4.62 an hour until April, 2022 when it will increase to £4.81.
Meanwhile, the Apprentice rate is currently £4.30 – and will rise to £4.81 next Spring, bringing it up to the same amount as for under-18s.
The amount changes every April – at the beginning of the new financial year – and has risen every year since the initiative was launched.
The National Living Wage – which is the minimum wage for those aged 23 and over – is currently £8.91, but will rise to £9.50 from April 2022.
Will the National Minimum Wage increase to £10?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak raised the National Minimum Wage in his Autumn 2021 Budget and the increased rates are due to come in from April 2022.
But prices are rising now and the latest official figures show that the rate of inflation is currently 5%.
That means the rise in the National Minimum Wage for some rates may not keep up with how much prices are rising and that Brits may still have less in their pockets despite higher wages.
The Chancellor had been expected to say that the minimum wage will increase to £10 by the next General Election in the Budget.
No promise to increase the minimum wage to £10 has yet been made by the government.
The next general election is due to take place on May 2, 2024.
Who gets the National Minimum Wage and am I entitled?
To qualify for the National Minimum wage you have to be of school leaving age, which is usually above 16.
You are eligible to receive the pay rate if you work full-time, part-time or as a casual labourer, for example someone hired for one day.
You could also be an agency worker or someone paid by the number of items you make.
Apprentices qualify for a National Minimum Wage, as well as trainees and staff still in their probationary period.
You are also entitled to the National Minimum Wage if you are a disabled worker.
Anyone who thinks they are not getting paid fairly should raise the issue with their employer in the first instance.
If this is not effective, the next step is to file a complaint on the government’s website.
Which workers do not qualify for the National Minimum Wage?
Those who are self-employed, voluntary workers, company directors and family members who live in the home of the employer and do household chores do not qualify for the minimum wage.
Au pairs, members of the armed forces and people on a government employment programme are also not entitled to the payment.
There is no difference in pay for those that live in London compared to elsewhere.
The only discrepancy is for people working in agriculture or horticulture.
Workers already employed before October 1, 2013, are entitled to the pay set under their contract of employment.