UK Minimum Wage (National Living Wage And National Minimum Wage) 2021 And 2022 Compared

Are you planning to work in the UK? Before you do, the first thing you should do is to learn about worker’s rights, which includes the correct UK Minimum Wage per hour.

It’s important to know if you are underpaid since employers paying employees lower than the National Minimum wage is actually illegal.

In fact, the UK government set out to increase the minimum wage with full effect on 1 April 2022.

So before signing an employment contract, refer to this quick guide that explicitly describes the UK minimum wage for 2022 and who are eligible. In summary, you will learn about the following topics:

  • What is the UK Minimum Wage 2022
  • Which Type of Employee Gets the Minimum Wage
  • How to Calculate the Minimum Wage
  • Frequently Asked Questions

What is the UK Minimum Wage 2022

Below you can find a list comparing the previous hourly minimum wage rate (2021) with the new hourly minimum wage rate (2022).

Employee Previous rate Rate from April 2022 Increase
23+ Year Old (National Living Wage) £8.91 £9.50 6.6%
21-22 Year Old £8.36 £9.18 9.8%
18-20 Year Old £6.56 £6.83 4.1%
16-17 Year Old £4.62 £4.81 4.1%
Apprentice Rate* £4.30 £4.81 11.9%
Accommodation Offset £8.36 £8.70 4.1%

Apprentices must be aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship.

For Example:

An apprentice aged 25 and in the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to an hourly rate of £4.81.

However, apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if:

  • Are aged 19+ years old
  • Completed the first year of their apprenticeship

For Example:

An apprentice aged 25 who has already completed their first year of apprenticeship is now entitled to an hourly rate of £9.18.

As evident, the hourly rate has increased from the previous year according to the Government’s objective of having a national living wage set at two-thirds of the projected median earnings for 2024. With new rates that will be introduced from 2023 as well.

Please note that everyone below the age of 23 is strictly entitled to National Minimum Wage, you need to be 23 or older to be eligible for National Living Wage.

Which Type of Employee Gets the Minimum Wage

uk money

Firstly, to be eligible for National Minimum Wage, you need to be classed as a ‘worker’, here is the list of requirements to be titled as a worker:

  • Have a contract/arrangement to perform work or services for a reward.
  • The reward is money or a benefit in kind.
  • A limited right exists to subcontract the work.
  • An employer shall provide work for the duration of the contract or arrangement.
  • They are not doing the work as part of their own company, e.g., the employer is also the client/customer.

Secondly, the worker must be aged 23 or over to be eligible for the National Living Wage.

Thirdly, contracts stipulating payment below the National Minimum Wage are not legitimate. Hence the worker still needs to be paid at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rates, depending on the first two parameters.

If you fit into the following worker groups, then you are also entitled to the appropriate minimum wage:

  • Seafarers
  • Offshore workers
  • Workers that are paid based on the number of items they produce
  • apprentices
  • Probational workers & trainees
  • Workers with physical or mental disability
  • Agricultural workers
  • Foreign workers
  • Part-time workers
  • Casual workers – someone hired for one day
  • Agency workers

People who are not entitled to minimum wage:

  • Share fishermen
  • Convicts/prisoners
  • Religious workers
  • Workers on a government employment programme
  • Armed Forces members
  • An employer’s family members living in the same home family
  • Entrepreneurs or self-employed
  • Directors of companies
  • Voluntary Workers*
  • Au Pairs or non-family members not charged for meals or leisure activities.
  • Workers below school leaving age (16)
  • Higher education students who work for work experience eligible for up to one year
  • People shadowing to gain experience
  • Workers on government pre-apprenticeships schemes
  • People that are partaking in the following European Union (EU) programmes: Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus+, Comenius
  • People who are working on a Jobcentre Plus Work trial (up to 6 weeks)

To be classed as a voluntary worker, the following applies:

  • Limited benefits (travel expenses)
  • Working for a Statutory body, charity, or a voluntary organisation (fundraising group)

How to Calculate the Minimum Wage

uk money1

You can use the minimum wage calculator to check whether the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage is being paid.

The following are included as time spent calculating the correct minimum wage rate:

  • Present at work and physically working
  • Failure to work due to machine failure, however still present at work
  • Work-related travel, training and travelling to training
  • Collection of goods

The following are not included:

  • Industrial action
  • Not working but present at the workplace or available to do work.
  • On holiday break, sick leave or maternity leave
  • Travel time between work and home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours qualify as full-time in the UK?

There is no exact number that makes someone full or part-time. However, a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours a week.

Is lunch included in my hourly rate in the UK?

No, lunch is not included in your hourly rate.

What happens if my employer refuses to pay minimum wage UK?

If HMRC has credible proof that the employer is not paying minimum wage, a notice for the arrears will be sent, with an additional fine. If the employer is still refusing to pay minimum wage, then the HMRC can take the employer to court on behalf of the worker.

What is the minimum wage for 17 year-olds in the UK?

17-year-olds fall into the 16-17-year-old bracket, meaning they will receive a minimum wage of £4.81 per hour.

What is the minimum wage for 8-year-old worker in the UK?

An 18-year-old worker falls into the 18-20-year-old bracket, meaning they will receive a minimum wage of £4.81 per hour.

What is the minimum wage for a 25 year old?

A 25-year-old will receive £9.50 per hour unless they are an apprentice, which makes them eligible to earn £6.81 minimum wage per hour.

What is the 21 year old minimum wage UK?

A 21-year-old will receive £9.18 per hour unless they are an apprentice, then they will earn £4.81 in their first year, followed by the normal minimum wage the next year.

Who can I contact to advise me on my pay and rights at work?

You can contact the Acas Helpline for free advice by calling the following number: +44 300 123 1100

To whom do I report if I am being underpaid?

You should report it to the HMRC, it will only take five minutes. You will answer some questions in the form such as for who is the complaint and several Yes or No questions. After answering the questions, you will include the employer’s or agency’s name, business name, property name or number, employer UK Postcode, hours worked, and gross pay.

What is the Real Living Wage?

The Real Living Wage is a voluntary wage scheme in the UK, the current rate is £9.90 for the UK and £11.05 in London.

Any Thoughts?

With minimum wage changing almost yearly, you must ensure you are paid accordingly. If not, ask your employer to pay you the minimum wage, as they are entitled and enforceable by law. Remember, the wage will change again in April 2023!

Leave a Comment