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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 April 2024 the NMW hourly rates are as follows:

  • aged 21 and over  £11.44
  • aged 18-20  £8.60 
  • aged 16-17  £6.40 

The apprentice rate is £6.40 for their first year. If apprentices are aged 19+, second year pay should be in-line with the NMW rates for their age group (£8.60 if they are aged 19 or 20, £11.44 if they are 21+).

National Living Wage
From 1 April 2024 workers aged 21 and over are entitled to the ‘National Living Wage’ of £11.44 per hour.

Whilst the reduction of the qualifying age for 'National Living Wage’ to 21 is a step in the right direction, Usdaw believes that the ‘National Living Wage’ should be paid at 18.

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 £13.15 per hour in London and £12 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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