Posted by James Pearson on 02 Oct 2012

National Minimum Wage Changes

From 1st October 2012 the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates increase, the new rates are

  • £6.19 – The main rate for workers aged 21 and over
  • £4.98 – The 18-20 rate
  • £3.68 – The 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.65 – The apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

If employees are of compulsory school age they are not entitled to the NMW. Some other employment rights are also different.

Most workers in the UK over school leaving age are legally entitled to be paid at least the NMW and all employers have to pay it. It makes no difference:

  • If employees are paid weekly or monthly, by cheque, in cash or in another way
  • If employees work full time, part time or any other working pattern
  • If employees work at their employer’s own premises or elsewhere
  • What size the employer is
  • Where an employee works in the UK

Employees are entitled to the NMW even if they sign a contract agreeing to be paid at a lower rate. This is regardless of whether they sign of their own free will or because their employer persuades or makes them. The contract will have no legal effect and they must still be paid the proper rate.

Historical Rate

From Adult Rate
(for workers aged 21+)
Development Rate
(for workers aged 18-20)
16-17 Year Olds Rate Apprentice Rate
 1 Oct 2011   £6.08   £4.98   £3.68<   £2.60
 1 Oct 2010   £5.93   £4.92   £3.64   £2.50
From Adult Rate
(for workers aged 22+)
Development Rate
(for workers aged 18-21)
16-17 Year Olds Rate Apprentice Rate
1 Oct 2009 £5.80 £4.83 £3.57
1 Oct 2008 £5.73 £4.77 £3.53
1 Oct 2007 £5.52 £4.60 £3.40
1 Oct 2006 £5.35 £4.45 £3.30

Apprentice Minimum Wage

The Apprentice Minimum Wage applies to those apprentices under the age of 19 and those aged 19 and over in the first 12 months of their apprenticeship. The current rate is shown in the table above.

Accommodation Offset

The current accommodation offset rate is £4.73 per day or £33.11 per week.

Compulsory School Age

In England and Wales: a person is no longer of compulsory school age after the last Friday of June of the school year in which their 16th birthday occurs.

In Northern Ireland: a person is no longer of compulsory school age after the 30th June of the school year in which their 16th birthday occurs.

In Scotland: pupils whose 16th birthday falls between 1st March and 30th September may not leave before the 31st May of that year. Pupils aged 16 on or between 1st October and the last day of February may not leave until the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.’

If you would like any advice regarding the above article or would simply like to discuss other ways in which we could help you or your business, please contact us on 01962 856 990 or


See also…


Employment Taxes

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