The National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage Update

Keeping up to date with legislation changes is a full time job. Luckily McDade Roberts are here to help ensure that from a tax and payroll perspective, you are kept in the know.

Anybody working, aged 25 or over and not in the first year of an apprenticeship, is legally entitled to the National Living Wage (NLW).

The NLW rate changes every April, while the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates have traditionally been revised in October. However, since April 2017 the NMW and NLW cycles have been aligned so that both rates are amended in April each year.

The table below shows the NMW and NLW rates applying from 1 April 2018:

Apprentices 16 and 17 18 - 20 21 - 24 25 and over
National Minimum Wage £3.70 £4.20 £5.90 £7.38 -
National Living Wage - - - - £7.83

Please note, there are separate minimum rates of pay for agricultural workers. Visit for more information.

Who is covered by the National Minimum Wage?

There are certain exceptions such as:

  • children who are still of compulsory school age
  • those who are genuinely self employed
  • family members living in the family home and working in the family business
  • people working and living as part of a family (e.g. au pairs)
  • voluntary workers

What records have to be kept?

For workers earning in excess of £12,000 per year, employers have to keep sufficient records to demonstrate that the NMW has been paid. For workers earning less than £12,000 per year, full details of the NMW calculation must be kept. Records should be kept for six years.

What rights do the worker have?

Individuals have the right to apply to a court or tribunal for non payment of the NMW. They are also protected from suffering any loss for such proceedings. Confidential help and advice on the NMW is available from the Pay and Work Rights Helpline: 0300 123 1100.

Criminal Offences

The fine on conviction for a National Minimum Wage offence is up to £20,000 where tried in the magistrates' court. The most serious criminal cases are triable in the Crown Court.


The main means of enforcing the NMW are through:

  • compliance officers of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • agricultural wages inspectors for the NMW in the agricultural sector (and the agricultural minimum wage)
  • claims by workers before tribunals and courts

HMRC compliance officers will act in response to complaints that an employer is not paying the NMW - whether the complaint is by workers or others. They will also investigate where there may be a risk of non-payment.

Want To Check You Are Complying With National Minimum Wage Requirements?

We have a dedicate payroll team at McDade Roberts who are up to date with the latest changes in National Minimum Wage. Give us a call today if you would like to discuss your business needs.