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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Class 1 Structural Overview: The Lower Earnings Limit ('LEL')

Section 5, SSCBA 1992 and regulations 10 & 11, SS(C)R 2001

The Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) is the point at which employees start to build up entitlement to contributory benefits. Until 2011 the LEL was statutorily tied to the rate of the basic State retirement pension. In 2011 the Government decided that the LEL would be up-rated annually by reference to Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

It is fixed each year. For guidance on how to calculate the LEL for pay intervals other than a week, see NIM01010.

For further guidance on NICs limits, see NIM11000 onwards.