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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Entitlement to national minimum wage: trainees and traineeships in England

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

* National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015, regulations 54



The term trainee is not defined in national minimum wage legislation. The term is commonly used by employers and training providers but has no bearing on whether someone is a worker or not.

The term is generally applied to someone who is being trained to perform work by and for an employer. Commonly this is called ‘on the job training’ and, by the nature of the role, they will be performing work for an employer and will fall within the definition of a worker (NMWM05020).

Care should be taken to ensure that a person described as a trainee is not be confused with a participant on the Traineeships programme operated in England. Workers participating in such a programme do not qualify of the national minimum wage for work done as part of that programme where the following conditions are met;

  • The programme includes a work experience placement and work preparation training,
  • The programme lasts no more than six months,
  • The programme is government funded, and
  • The programme is open to workers aged over 16 and under 25 on the first day of the traineeship.

It is important that trainees are not confused with apprentices who, for minimum wage purposes, are covered by specific legislation (NMWM05230).