What is the national minimum wage 2021 in the UK?

THE minimum wage in the UK has increased today (April 1), giving a pay rise to more than two million workers.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed millions of Brits would get the wage boost in his spending review set out in the Commons in November 2020, and confirmed it in the Budget last month.

But what is the National Minimum Wage? We explain all you need to know.

What is the National Minimum Wage?

The National Minimum Wage is currently the amount workers under 23 (but of school-leaving age) are entitled to.

Brits who are 23 and 24 years old have also benefited from the boost – previously, the national living wage is only available to those aged 25 or above.

The first National Minimum Wage was set in 1998 by the Labour government.

Before that, no official rate existed although trade unions battled hard to fight their workers' corner.

The National Minimum Wage was re-branded to the National Living Wage in 2016 for those over 25.

The latest boost was announced in the Budget last month, when Sunak accepted "in full" the recommendations from the Low Pay Commission to bump up pay slips.

He also announced that that the full national minimum wage rate, which from today only applies for those aged 21-22, would also increase by 2% from £8.20 to £8.36.

Sunak said: “Taken together, these minimum wage increases will likely benefit around two million people.

"A full-time worker on the national living wage will see their annual earnings increase by £345 next year.

"Compared to 2016, when the [NLW] policy was first introduced, that’s a pay rise of over £4,000.”

For 18- to 20-year-olds, the minimum wage has risen from £6.45 to £6.56, and for under 18s, it's increased from £4.55 to £4.62 an hour.

In addition, the Apprenticeship Wage is also due to increase by 3.6%, pushing up the hourly rate from £4.15 to £4.30.

The National Living Wage is currently £8.72 an hour and will rise by 19p to £8.91 – an increase of 2.2% – from April.

Rate from April 2020

Rate from April 2021


Anyone who thinks they are not getting the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage should complain to their employer in the first instance.

If this does not get anywhere, the next step is to take the complaint to HMRC who will investigate.

Which workers do not qualify for the National Minimum Wage?

Those who are self-employed, voluntary workers, company directors and family members who live in the home of the employer and do household chores do not qualify for either rate.

There is no difference in pay for those that live in London compared to elsewhere.

The only discrepancy is for people working in agriculture or horticulture.

Workers already employed before October 1, 2013, are entitled to the pay set under their contract of employment.


What benefits and Universal Credit can you claim? How to check you’re not missing out.

Here's what else has been announced in the Spending Review and how it impacts your finances.

It includes a £2.9billion plan to help unemployed Brits find work through a new Restart Scheme.

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