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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Class 1 Structural Overview: General


Class 1 NICs are earnings-related and comprise two elements: the primary Class 1 contribution payable by employed earners, and the secondary Class 1 contribution payable by employers and other persons paying earnings (see NIM01015).

In general, liability to pay Class 1 contributions is limited to persons who fulfil prescribed conditions of residence or presence in Great Britain (see NIM33000 onwards), and no person is entitled to pay Class 1 contributions other than those for which they are liable.

A Class 1 contribution is payable or treated as paid, in respect of earnings (see NIM02000 onwards) from an employed earner’s employment or by those whose employment is treated by regulations as such (see ESM0124) except where the earner:


  • is under age sixteen at the time payment is made; or
  • has earnings less than the Lower Earnings Limit (‘LEL’, see NIM01005) current at the time; or
  • the employee is at or over State pension age at the time payment is made (see NIM36000) but employers must continue to pay secondary Class 1 NICs for those employees over this age.