National minimum wage rates: main rate for workers aged 25 and over (the national living wage rate)
The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:
* National Minimum Wage Act 1998, section 11(2)(b) * National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015, regulation 4
From 1 April 2016, most workers aged 25 and over are entitled to be paid at least the main, single hourly rate of national minimum wage. This rate is known as “the national living wage rate”.
Regardless of the age of the worker, the main rate is also used in the calculation of an award by an employment tribunal if presented with a complaint for an employer’s failure to allow access to records.
Not all workers are entitled to the main rate of national minimum wage. Certain categories of workers do not qualify for the national minimum wage and others are entitled to:
- The 21 – 24 year old rate (NMWM03030) (introduced for pay reference periods starting on or after 1 April 2016), or
- The 18 - 20 year old rate (NMWM03050), or
- The under 18 rate (NMWM03060) (introduced for pay reference periods starting on or after 1 October 2004), or
- The apprentice rate (NMWM03065) (introduced for pay reference periods starting on or after 1 October 2010).
Prior to 1 April 2016 the main rate started at age 21. From 1 April 2016, workers aged 21 to 24 (inclusive) are covered by a different age band (NMWM03030).
Prior to 1 October 2010 the main rate started at age 22 so workers aged 21 were covered by a different age band (NMWM03050).
Prior to 1 October 2006, some workers aged 22 and over who started a new job with a new employer and who undertook accredited training were entitled to the accredited training rate for up to six months. However, the accredited training rate was abolished for pay reference periods starting on or after 1 October 2006. If further information is required regarding this historic rate please contact the NMW Technical Team.
Agricultural workers (NMWM03100) must be paid at least national minimum wage rates but may be entitled to more under agricultural wage legislation.