Who must get the national minimum wage - offshore workers, trainees and probationers, workers from or working outside the UK
Unless they are in the course of navigation or are working on a ship which is engaged in dredging or fishing, offshore workers must be paid at least the national minimum wage (NMW) if they are working or ordinarily work:
- in UK territorial waters
- in the UK sector of the continental shelf
- in the UK sector of the continental shelf where the employment is connected with the exploration of a cross boundary petroleum field
Offshore workers are entitled to the NMW whether or not they, or their employer, are based in the UK itself.
Trainees and staff on probation
If someone is employed as a trainee or is working a period of probation with their employer, they are still entitled to be paid at least the NMW. There are some exemptions for certain and - see the pages in this guide on who need not get the national minimum wage - self-employed, directors and some apprentices and who need not get the national minimum wage - government and European schemes and programmes.
Workers from outside the UK
All workers who are working legally in the UK must be paid at least the NMW for the hours they work in this country.
Foreign workers, working in the UK are entitled to the NMW in exactly the same way as any other worker, regardless of how long or short their stay may be. It does not matter whether their employer is based in the UK or in another country.
It is important that employers and workers understand whether someone is legally entitled to work in the UK and the eligibility requirements.
Find out about immigration rules for people coming to the UK to work on the UK Border Agency website - Opens in a new window or see our guide on ensuring your workers are eligible to work in the UK.
Workers working outside the UK
Workers who usually work in the UK under their contract but who are working temporarily outside the UK must be paid at least the NMW for their work done outside the UK.
The situation for any particular worker will depend on their individual arrangements and the terms of their contract. But if a worker works overseas for the majority of the time, then they do not need to be paid the NMW for the overseas work. They are likely, however, to be covered by the employment rules in the country where they work.
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