National Minimum Wage

Usdaw was one of the main unions that campaigned for the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the 1980s and 1990s. It was introduced by the Labour Government in 1999 and provides a legal safety net for the vast majority of UK workers.

As of 1 October 2016 the NMW hourly rates are as follows:

  • aged 21-24 £6.95 (£7.05 from April 2017)
  • aged 18-20 £5.55 (£5.60 from April 2017)
  • aged 16-17 £4.00 (£4.05 from April 2017)

The apprentice rate is £3.40 for their first year (£3.50 from April 2017). If apprentices are aged 19+, second year pay should be in-line with the NMW rates for their age group (£5.55 if they are aged 19 or 20, £6.95 if they are 21+).

National Living Wage
From 1 April 2016 workers aged 25 and over are entitled to the ‘National Living Wage’ of £7.20 per hour (£7.50 from April 2017).

Usdaw believes that the ‘National Living Wage’ should be paid at 18 and not 25. We do not believe a lower rate for workers under 25 is justified, when they are doing the same job.
 
The legal ‘National Living Wage’ is not the same as the real Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation. This currently stands at £9.75 per hour in London and £8.45 per hour across the rest of the UK. The real Living Wage is independently calculated, and is based on the amount needed for a decent standard of living.
 
The real Living Wage is voluntary, and employers who agree to pay it can become accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

However, the National Minimum Wage is legally enforceable and employees can report their employer to the Pay and Work Rights Helpline if they think they are being underpaid. Employers face a fine if they are found to be underpaying and employees can claim back pay too. This also applies to the statutory ‘National Living Wage’.
 
Usdaw members who have a query about their pay rates should contact their Union Representative.

Further advice

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