The national minimum wage (NMW) applies to nearly all workers and sets hourly rates below which pay must not be allowed to fall.

It is an important cornerstone of Government strategy aimed at providing employees with decent minimum standards and fairness in the workplace. The Government suggests that it helps business by ensuring companies compete on the basis of quality of the goods and services they provide and not on low prices based predominantly on low rates of pay.

The rates set are based on the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission. The rates change on 1st October each year.

New National Minimum Wage rates from 1 October 2015

National Minimum Wage
  • the adult rate will increase by 20 pence to £6.70 per hour
  • the rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase by 17 pence to £5.30 per hour
  • the rate for 16 to 17 year olds will increase by 8 pence to £3.87 per hour
  • the apprentice rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30 per hour
  • the accommodation offset increases from the current £5.08 to £5.35

For details of the current rates visit:

New Apprentice Rate

A new apprentice rate of £2.73 per hour was introduced for pay reference periods starting on or after 1 October 2014. This applies to apprentices who are workers, and aged either under 19 or aged 19 and over, and in the first year of their apprenticeship. The rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30 per hour.

Introduction of National Living Wage

A new National Living Wage (NLW) will be introduced from April 2016. This will start at £7.20 an hour with a rise to £9 an hour by 2020. The NLW will be compulsory for all working people aged 25 and over.