Guidance

Rates and allowances: National Insurance contributions

Updated 6 April 2017

There are different ‘classes’ of National Insurance (NI). The type people pay depends on their employment status and how much they earn.

New National Insurance bands and allowances are usually announced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget or Autumn Statement.

1. Class 1 National Insurance thresholds

Employers and employees pay Class 1 NI depending on how much the employee earns. You can view these earnings thresholds by week (table 1.1) or by month (table 1.2).

1.1 Weekly thresholds

£ per week 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015
Lower Earnings Limit (LEL)
Employees don’t pay NI but get the benefits of paying
£113 £112 £112 £111
Primary Threshold (PT)
Employees start paying NI
£157 £155 £155 £153
Secondary Threshold (ST)
Employers start paying NI
£157 £156 £156 £153
Upper Accrual Point (UAP)
Employees with a contracted-out pension pay a lower rate of NI up to this point
N/A N/A £770 £770
Upper Earnings Limit (UEL)
All employees pay a lower rate of NI above this point
£866 £827 £815 £805
Upper Secondary Threshold (UST)
Employers of employees who are under 21 pay zero rate up to this point
£866 £827 £815 N/A
Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold (AUST)
Employers of certain apprentices who are under 25 pay zero rate up to this point
£866 £827 N/A N/A

1.2 Monthly thresholds

£ per month 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015
Lower Earnings Limit (LEL)
Employees don’t pay NI but get the benefits of paying
£490 £486 £486 £481
Primary Threshold (PT)
Employees start paying NI
£680 £672 £672 £663
Secondary Threshold (ST)
Employers start paying NI
£680 £676 £676 £663
Upper Accrual Point (UAP)
Employees with a contracted-out pension pay a lower rate of NI up to this point
N/A N/A £3,337 £3,337
Upper Earnings Limit (UEL)
All employees pay a lower rate of NI above this point
£3,750 £3,583 £3,532 £3,489
Upper Secondary Threshold (UST)
Employers of employees who are under 21 pay zero rate up to this point
£3,750 £3,583 £3,532 N/A
Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold (AUST)
Employers of certain apprentices who are under 25 pay zero rate up to this point
£3,750 £3,583 N/A N/A

2. Class 1 National Insurance rates

2.1 Employer rates

This table shows how much employers pay towards their employees’ National Insurance.

  2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015
Rate above the Secondary Threshold 13.8% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%
Rate below Upper Secondary Threshold 0% 0% 0% N/A
Rate below Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold 0% 0% N/A N/A
Rebate for any employees in contracted-out pension schemes N/A N/A 3.4% 3.4%
Rebate for any employees in money-purchase schemes N/A N/A N/A N/A
Class 1A rate on expenses and benefits 13.8% 13.8% 13.8% 13.8%

2.2 Employee rates

This table shows how much employers deduct from employees’ pay.

  2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015 2013 to 2014
Between Primary Threshold and Upper Earnings Limit 12% 12% 12% 12%
Above Upper Earnings Limit 2% 2% 2% 2%
Rebate for employees in contracted-out workplace pension schemes N/A 1.4% 1.4% 1.4%
Married women’s reduced rate between primary threshold and upper earnings limit 5.85% 5.85% 5.85% 5.85%
Rate for employees deferring National Insurance 2% 2% 2% 2%

3. Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance (self-employed)

There are 2 types of NI for people who work for themselves, depending on their profits.

3.1 Class 2

  2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015
Small Profits Threshold amount per year £6,025 £5,965 £5,965 -
Small earnings exception’ amount per year
Self-employed people start paying Class 2 NI
N/A N/A abolished £5,885
Rate per week £2.85 £2.80 £2.80 £2.75

3.2 Class 4

£ per year 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015
Lower Profits Limit
Self-employed people start paying Class 4 NI
£8,164 £8,060 £8,060 £7,956
Upper Profits Limit
Self-employed people pay a lower rate
£45,000 £43,000 £42,385 £41,865
Rate between Lower Profits Limit and Upper Profits Limit 9% 9% 9% 9%
Rate above Upper Profits Limit 2% 2% 2% 2%

3.3 Special rates

£ per week 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015
Special Class 2 rate for share fishermen £3.50 £3.45 £3.45 £3.40
Special Class 2 rate for volunteer development workers £5.65 £5.60 £5.60 £5.55
Additional Class 4 rate when deferring National Insurance 2% 2% 2% 2%

4. Class 3 National Insurance (voluntary)

People can pay voluntary National Insurance to fill or avoid gaps in their record.

£ per week 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016 2014 to 2015
Class 3 rate £14.25 £14.10 £14.10 £13.90

5. Historical and future rates

You can view National Insurance rates and thresholds for previous tax years.

There will be new National Insurance rates and thresholds from 6 April 2017.

6. Income Tax rates

You can see Income Tax rates for the current and previous tax years.