The National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced by the National Minimum Wage Act 1999. Each year, on 1st October, the levels are adjusted to raise the minimum wage to achieve a basic standard of living for workers. HMRC and Direct Gov websites are worth checking to keep up to date on the current rates and related information. Please check the websites to ensure your business complies with the minimum rates and requirements.
Current Rates since 1st October 2010
- £5.93 per hour – employees aged 21 or more
- £4.92 per hour – employees aged 18 and 20 and between
- £3.64 per hour – employees aged 16 and 17
- £2.50 per hour – apprentice rate for 1st year of apprentice schemes
School children under 16 with part-time jobs are subject to the ruling and approval of the local education authorities.
It is estimated that 1% of UK jobs are still breaking the law by paying less than the NMW, 10 years after it was introduced. Individuals have the right to apply to a court, or tribunal if they aren’t receiving the NMW. Their employment rights are protected from suffering any loss following such an action of so called ‘whistle blowing’.
There is a national helpline (0800 917 2368) for support on such matters. HMRC will try to give employers a chance to comply with the legislation; the penalty for failure to comply is £5,000.