Minimum wage

The national minimum wage is the hourly rate of pay that almost every worker in the UK is legally entitled to as an absolute minimum.

It is the law in the UK that every employer must pay its workers at least the minimum wage although minimum wage rates of pay vary depending upon an employee’s age.

For the most up to date statistics, the government publishes its list of national minimum wage rates.

The national minimum wage act 1988 introduced the minimum wage into UK law. The first rate, set in April 1999, was £3.60 per hour for 22 year olds and over and £3.00 per hour for 18 – 21 year olds.

The concept of a minimum wage is applied globally with many countries having their own – see this list of minimum wages by country.

The national minimum wage is different from the living wage.  The living wage is tied to the cost of living by the Living Wage Foundation.