What is the National Living Wage?

The national living wage is for workers who are aged 21 and over and is used instead of the national minimum wage.

The NLW was introduced in April 2021 and means you are entitled to be paid by your employer at the very minimum the national living wage hourly rate.

Minimum and living wage rates are usually increased from the start of each tax year with your employer being told by HMRC what NLW hourly rate to use.

Employers use the living wage for employees aged from 21 and it replaces the minimum wage which is normally used from point of leaving school up to the age of 20.

How much is the National Living Wage?

The national living wage hourly rate is £11.44 from April 2024.

Your eligibility for the living wage isn’t impacted from things like how many hours you work, how often you are paid or the number of employees your employer has.

Who isn’t eligible for the NLW?

There are some restrictions on who is entitled to the national living wage with the following being some of the workers who are not eligible:

  • Self employed.
  • Limited company directors.
  • Employees under the school leaving age (which is typically 16).
  • Members of the armed forces.
  • Voluntary workers.
  • Higher and further education students on work placement up to one year.

Is the National Living Wage the same as the Minimum Wage?

The living wage rate is different from the minimum wage which is generally used for workers from school leaving age up to 20.

If you are 21 or older then the NLW should be the minimum you receive from your employer.

National Living Wage Calculator

To check you are being paid national living wage correctly you can use the national minimum and living wage calculator.

The NLW calculator is free and let’s you check your pay figures to ensure you are not being paid below the minimum wage rates.

What to do if you are being paid less than the Living Wage

If you think that you are being paid an hourly rate which is below the national living wage or minimum wage you should initially ask your employer to help you so they can fix any problems for you.

In circumstances where your employer is unable to rectify your concerns you should contact HMRC by making a pay and work rights complaint online.

The independent public body ACAS or the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service is available to give advice to workers on workplace rights for free.

You can contact ACAS on:

Telephone: 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm

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