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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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National minimum wage rates: compulsory school age

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998, sections 1(2)(c), 55(4) & 55(5)

From 1 October 2004 workers under 18 (NMWM03060) may be entitled to the national minimum wage if they are over compulsory school age. A person is no longer of compulsory school age as follows:

England and Wales

Education (School Leaving Date) Order 1997

  • after the last Friday in June of the school year in which their 16 birthday falls

Northern Ireland

Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, Article 46

  • after the 30 June of the school year in which their 16 birthday falls

Scotland

Education (Scotland) Act 1980, sections 31 and 33

  • after 31 May in the same year as their 16 birthday, if that falls in the period 1March to 30 September, or
  • after the start of their school’s Christmas holidays in the same school year as their 16 birthday, if that falls in the period 1 October to the last day of February.

A school year runs from 1 September to 31 August. These arrangements will allow some pupils to leave school while they are still 15 years old. In these circumstances, a 15 year old worker who qualifies for the national minimum wage will be entitled to the under 18 year old rate (NMWM03060).

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)