The National Minimum Wage is worked out at an hourly rate, but it applies to all eligible workers even if they’re not paid by the hour.

This means that, however someone gets paid, they still need to work out their equivalent hourly rate to see if they’re getting the minimum wage.

There are different ways of checking that workers get the minimum wage depending on whether they are:

Use the National Minimum Wage calculator to check if payments are over the minimum wage.

What counts as working time

For all types of work, include time spent:

  • at work and required to be working, or on standby near the workplace (but do not include rest breaks that are taken)
  • not working because of machine breakdown, but kept at the workplace
  • waiting to collect goods, meet someone for work or start a job
  • travelling in connection with work, including travelling from one work assignment to another
  • training or travelling to training
  • at work and under certain work-related responsibilities even when workers are allowed to sleep (whether or not a place to sleep is provided)

Do not include time spent:

  • travelling between home and work
  • away from work on rest breaks, holidays, sick leave or maternity leave
  • on industrial action
  • not working but at the workplace or available for work at or near the workplace during a time when workers are allowed to sleep (and you provide a place to sleep)

Example 1

A care worker has 2 appointments in the morning and does not take any breaks. The worker must be paid at least the minimum wage for the time he spends at the appointments, plus the travel time between appointments.

Example 2

A care worker has 2 appointments, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. After the first appointment he goes home to have a break before he goes to his afternoon appointment. The time spent travelling from the first appointment to his home and from his home to the second appointment does not count towards the minimum wage.

If the care worker did not go home but took a break on the way to his next appointment, he would be paid for any travel time but not for the break.

Example 3

A care worker has one appointment in the morning, then goes to the office to work there. At the office she is entitled to a 30-minute break. Then she goes to another appointment in the afternoon.

The worker must be paid at least the minimum wage for the time at the appointments, plus the travel time to and from the office. The break at the office does not count towards her minimum wage calculation.

Call the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline for advice about the National Minimum Wage.

  1. Step 1 Check your business is ready to employ staff

  2. Step 2 Recruit someone

    You need to advertise the role and interview candidates. You can use a recruitment agency to do this or do it yourself.

    1. Find out about recruiting someone yourself on Acas
    2. Find out about using a recruitment agency

    As an employer you must make sure you recruit employees fairly.

    1. Avoid discrimination during recruitment
    2. Make your application process accessible for employees with disabilities or health conditions
  3. and Check they have the right to work in the UK

  4. and Find out if they need a DBS check

    You may need to check someone's criminal record, for example, if they'll be working in healthcare or with children.

    1. Find out if you need a DBS check
    2. How to do a DBS check
  5. Step 3 Check if they need to be put into a workplace pension

    Check if you need to put your employee into a workplace pension scheme:

  6. Step 4 Agree a contract and salary

  7. Step 5 Tell HMRC about your new employee