Increase in the National Minimum Wage
Many students work part-time whether during term-time, in vacations or all year round. A lot of student jobs pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which is the lowest amount that employers can legally pay their employees. The good news is that the NMW will increase on 1 October.
There are four categories of the NMW and the corresponding new rates are shown below:
|Age||£ rate per hour|
|21 and over||6.50|
|Apprentices (see below)||2.73|
If you are currently earning the NMW your employer should automatically increase your wages but it is worth checking your payslip to make sure that this change has happened. You do not have to have a written contract with your employer to be entitled to the NMW and the rules cover agency workers and trainees. If you are on an internship or doing work experience, it is worth checking whether you should be being paid the NMW
Some employees are excluded from the NMW and these include those in the armed forces, or participating in certain Government schemes such as ‘Programme led apprenticeships’ and voluntary workers if they are only reimbursed for reasonable expenses; there is further information on exclusions from the NMW on our NMW factsheet.
The NMW rate for apprentices varies depending on your age and how long you have been on your apprenticeship. You will receive £2.73 per hour if you are aged under 19 or you are in your first year of training; after your first year if you are 19 or older you will be paid the rate corresponding to your age, otherwise you remain on the apprentices rate until you become 19.
How does the NMW work?
For most student jobs the NMW should be fairly easy to check on your payslip – but it can be more complicated if you are provided with live-in accommodation. GOV.UK has a useful NMW calculator which can help you.
What happens if you are not being paid the NMW?
If you are entitled to the NMW then HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) should help you receive the correct pay. There is information on our NMW factsheet which explains how you can check whether you are receiving the NMW, and if not how to complain through HMRC or an employment tribunal.