National Minimum Wage

Guidance on the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

The current National Living Wage hourly rate is as follows:

  • Workers aged 25 and over: £7.20

The current National Minimum Wage hourly rate is as follows:

  • Workers aged 21 and over: £6.70
  • Workers aged 18 to 20: £5.30
  • Young workers aged 16 to 17: £3.87
  • Apprentices aged 19 or younger, or in the first year of their apprenticeship: £3.30

The Low Pay Commission’s 2013 Report, citing evidence submitted by Creative & Cultural Skills, includes the following information:

Apprenticeship rates

  • The position of young people in the labour market has deteriorated significantly since the 2008/9 recession, but unemployment and employment rates have remained fairly stable over the last year.
  • Data from the 2012 Apprentice Pay Survey, as well as the findings of the Commission’s own research on the impact of the Apprentice Rate show that a “significant proportion” (more than 40 per cent) of younger apprentices were being paid less than their minimum wage entitlement.
  • Around 19 per cent of adult apprentices (aged 21 and above) were paid less than their National Minimum Wage entitlement.
  • Overall just over 27 per cent of all apprentices are estimated to be paid less than their minimum wage entitlement. This represents a significant increase since 2011, when around 20 per cent of apprentices received less than the National Minimum Wage.
  • The report has recommended to the Government that they improve awareness of, and compliance with, the Apprentice Rate and argues that “Non-compliance among employers of young apprentices is so widespread as to jeopardise the credibility of the Apprentice Rate”.


  • The Low Pay Commission also continues to “receive evidence of abuse of the National Minimum Wagethrough unpaid work, often labelled as internships”, and suggests that the government should tackle this problem by providing “improved guidance, together with vigorous and targeted enforcement action” as well as, potentially, changes to the law to improve compliance.
  • Creative & Cultural Skills were among a number of stakeholders who again voiced concerns about the impact of non-payment of the National Minimum Wage on social mobility, particularly given that unpaid internships are rapidly becoming the “new normal”.

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