What is the National Minimum Wage for an apprentice?
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations depend on your age, but there is also a special rate for apprentices who are under the age of 19 or are in the first year of their apprenticeship. The table below summarises the position.
|Age||From 1 April 2019 (current)
Rate per hour
From 1 April 2018
|25 and over (National Living Wage)||£8.21||£7.83|
|21 and over||£7.70||£7.38|
|18 to 20||£6.15||£5.90|
(all apprentices under age 19 AND any apprentice, regardless of age, in first year of apprenticeship)
The National Living Wage must be paid to employees aged 25 and older except for those who are in the first year of their apprenticeship. The NMW rates will apply to workers aged below 25 or in their first year of an apprenticeship. NMW rates used to change from October rather than from 1 April, hence some of the rate changes shown in the examples below.
You can find information on the NMW of earlier years on GOV.UK.
More information is available on our National Minimum Wage factsheet and the examples below explain how the NMW is calculated for apprentices.
Any changes to an apprentice’s NMW rate because they have completed their first year of their apprenticeship and are over 19 will be reflected in their next pay period and not from the exact date of the change (this is illustrated in the Rosie and Seamus examples below).
Rosie was born in November 1997 and began her two year apprenticeship on 1 September 2018. Rosie is paid per calendar month and her NMW will be as follows:
- 1 September 2018– 31 March 2019: Rosie’s NMW will be £3.70 per hour.
- 1 April 2019 – 31 August 2019: Rosie’s NMW will be £3.90 per hour as the NMW rates changed on 1 April 2019.
- 1 September 2019 – 31 March 2020: Rosie’s NMW will be £7.70 per hour as she has completed the first year of her apprenticeship. As she is aged over 19 she will be paid the NMW according to her age (on 1 September 2019, Rosie will be 21 years old).
Seamus started his three year apprenticeship on 6 September 2016, he was 17 on 8 May 2017. Seamus gets paid at the end of each calendar month and his NMW is as follows:
- 6 September 2016 – 30 September 2016: Seamus’s NMW rate was £3.30 per hour.
- 1 October 2016 – 31 March 2017: Seamus’s NMW rate increased to £3.40 per hour. There was an increase as the NMW rates used to change annually from 1 October. Even though Seamus completed his first year of his apprenticeship on 5 September 2017, he remained on the apprentice NMW rate as he was under 19 years old.
- 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018: the NMW rate changed from 1 April 2017. Seamus’s NMW rate increased to £3.50 per hour.
- 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019: the NMW rate increased from 1 April 2018. Seamus’s NMW rate was £3.70 per hour.
- 1 April 2019 – 15 May 2019: the NMW increased to £3.90 per hour.
- 16 May 2019: Seamus’s NMW rate will change as he is now 19 and he has been on his apprenticeship for longer than one year. His new NMW rate is £6.15 per hour. The change will take effect from the beginning of the pay period after Seamus’s birthday and not from the actual date of his birthday.
For more detailed information on the minimum wage rules and what to do if you are not being paid it, see the minimum wage page on the main LITRG website.