national living wage

Understanding the national living wage

Last week saw the first increase of the national living wage since its introduction back in 2016.

Speaking to candidates, it seems that there’s quite a bit of confusion between the national minimum wage and the national living wage and many workers are unsure which minimum pay they are entitled to per hour.

I thought that to try and make things a little easier to understand that I’d put together a quick guide to answer some of your most asked questions on the subject and to help clear up any confusion.

Who’s entitled to the national living wage?
By law, all workers aged over 25 who aren’t in the first year of an apprenticeship, self-employed or volunteers will be required to earn at least the national living wage. This applies to full-time, part-time, permanent and temporary workers.

How much is the current national living wage?
From 1st April 2017, the national living wage increased to £7.50 per hour from £7.20.

What if I’m under 25 years old?
If you are currently aged under 25 you will continue to only be entitled to the national minimum wage. That means that under 18s receive £4 an hour, 18-21 year olds get £5.55 and those aged 21 to 25 receive £6.95.

What if I’m doing an apprenticeship?
Apprentice rates of pay are currently set at £3.40 per hour. This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

I don’t think I’m earning what I’m entitled to, what should I do?
If you think that you’re not earning the appropriate rate for your age group or situation, then talk to either your manager or HR department. The national living wage and national minimum wage rates are enforceable by law and most employers ensure that their staff are paid correctly.

If you still have concerns, you can contact ACAS online here for help and guidance.

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.