What is the least I should be paid?
In the UK there is a national minimum wage (NMW) for workers. Your employer must not pay you less than this.
Different rates apply to different people and change every October. For most workers, the NMW is £5.80 (NB. this will increase to £5.93 on 1 October 2010). However, you can be paid a lower rate (currently £4.83 an hour, rising to £4.92 on 1 October 2010) if you are:
- aged 18 to 21 inclusive; or
- 22 or over, but in the first six months of employment and taking part in accredited training.
The national minimum wage doesn’t apply if you are:
- self-employed; or
- under certain types of apprenticeship.
If you are 16 or 17 years old you must be paid at least £3.57 an hour (£3.64 from 1 October 2010), as long as you are also over the compulsory school age. This means that you have passed the last Friday in June of the school year in which you turn 16. However, this rate of pay does not apply if you are employed as an apprentice.
Your employer cannot force or persuade you to sign away your right to the NMW, or to agree to a lower amount. If you think you are not receiving the right rate and you complain, you have legal protection from being dismissed or treated less favourably by your employer.
If you are not being paid the NMW, you can complain to the Pay and Work Rights Helpline.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is responsible for enforcing the law and can make an employer pay you the right rate, and also backdated pay to make up for previous underpayments.
You or HMRC can take your employer to an employment tribunal or civil court. If that happens, it is up to your employer to prove they were paying you the national minimum wage. Again, if the tribunal finds that your employer hasn’t paid you correctly, you can claim backdated pay.
- Am I a worker?
- What are my rights as a worker?
- What are my rights as an employee?
- Do I need a written contract of employment?
- What is the least I should be paid?
- How many hours can my employer make me work?
- What should I do if I have a problem at work?
- What if my employer has a problem with me?
- What if I’ve been dismissed unfairly?
- Bringing a claim for unfair dismissal
- What if I’ve been made redundant?
- Bringing a claim for wrongful dismissal
- What if I've been discriminated against?
- What are my rights if I work part-time?
- What are my rights if I’m having a baby?
- Can I take leave as a new father?
- What are my rights if I'm adopting a child?
- Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?
- Can I change my working arrangements if I care for an adult?
- Can I take time off if I am someone's carer?
- Further help with employment law
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