What is the minimum wage in the UK?

What is the minimum wage in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, the minimum wage depends on the age of the employee and his personal situation:

  • An employee aged 23 and over is entitled to the National Living Wage.
  • An employee under 23 is entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
  • An apprentice is entitled to the Apprentice rate.

Minimum wage

The minimum wage is the hourly wage to which employees are entitled - regardless of the size of the company.

For over 23s: National Living Wage

As of April 1, 2021, the UK minimum wage for employees over 23 is £8.91/hour (gross) - or around 10.47€/hour (gross).

Self-employed workers, employers, fishermen and people working and living in a religious community are not affected by the minimum wage.

For under 23s: National Minimum Wage

For employees under 23, the hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage varies according to age:

Between 21 and 22 years old £8,36/hour (gross)
Between 18 and 20 years old £6,56/hour (gross)
Under 18 £4,62/hour (gross)

For apprentices: Apprentice rate

For apprentices the minimum hourly rate is £4.30/hour (gross) if:

  • The apprentice is under 19
  • The apprentice is 19 years of age and over and is in the first year of his apprenticeship

If the apprentice is over 19 at the end of his first year, he is entitled to the hourly rate corresponding to his age group in the National Minimum / Living Wage (above).

Calculation of the minimum wage

For an employee over 23 years old

For an employee - over 23 - who works 40 hours per week (full time), the calculation of the minimum wage (gross) is as follows:

40 hours x 52 weeks = 2,080 hours x £8.91 = £18,532.80 / year (i.e. £1,544.40 / month)

For an employee under 23

For an employee - aged 22 - who works 35 hours per week (full time) the calculation of the minimum wage (gross) is as follows:

35 hours x 52 weeks = 1,820 hours x £8.36 = £15,215 / year (i.e. £1,267.93 / month)

For an apprentice

For an apprentice - aged 18 - who works 20 hours per week , the calculation of the minimum (gross) wage is as follows:

20 hours x 52 weeks = 1040 hours x £4.30 = £4,472 / year (i.e. £372.66 / month)

Work time

In the United Kingdom, an employee is considered full-time if he works - at least - 35 hours per week.

These 35 hours generally correspond to 5 working days per week - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, with an hour's break for lunch.

Contracts longer than 35h / week are common - extra hours are not considered overtime hours.

An employment contract cannot exceed 48h / week - the extra hours will be on a voluntary basis.

Salary payment frequency

Salary payment is generally monthly (at the end of the month).

Some employers choose to pay wages weekly.

Employee and employer contributions

Employee contributions

The employee's contributions to his gross salary are:

  • Withholding tax at source of income tax (PAYE contributions): contributions determined according to the employee's personal situation.
  • Contributions to the national health system (NI contributions): calculation by instalments according to the gross salary.
  • Retirement contributions (Pension scheme contributions) slices by calculation based on gross salary.

By default, the pension fund is that offered by the State (NEST), but it is also possible to choose a private pension fund.

  • Other contributions: optional mutual, etc.

Employer contributions

The employer's contributions on the gross salary are:

  • Contributions to the national health system (NI contributions): calculation by instalments according to the gross salary.
  • Retirement contributions (Pension scheme contributions) slices by calculation based on gross salary.
  • Employee and employer contributions are generally equivalent.

  • Other contributions: optional mutual, etc.

Pay slip

The main elements present on the payslip are as follows:

  • Employee identification: name, National Insurance Number, tax code (PAYE contributions).
  • Period
  • Gross salary
  • Employee and employer contributions
  • Net salary payable
  • Count of days off (optional)