Category: Expert Opinion
Topic: Payroll

National Minimum Wage pay checker


The minimum wage is worked out at an hourly rate, but it applies to all eligible workers even if they’re not paid by the hour.

This means that – however you pay someone – you need to work out their equivalent hourly rate to make sure you’re paying the minimum wage.

The hourly rate for minimum wage depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice. You must be at least school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage and aged 25 to get the National Living Wage – the minimum wage will still apply for workers aged 24 and under.

The rates below apply from 1 April 2019. The rates change every April.

Category of worker Hourly rate
Aged 25+ (national living wage rate) £8.21
Aged 21 to 24 inclusive £7.70
Aged 18 to 20 inclusive £6.15
Aged under 18 (but above compulsory school leaving age) £4.35
Apprentices aged under 19 £3.90
Apprentices aged 19+, but in the first year of apprenticeship £3.90










Click here to use the National Minimum Wage calculator to check if you’re paying a worker the National Minimum Wage or if you owe them payments from past years.

The government has named and fined employers for underpaying the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

Use 52 and 1/7 weeks (52.142857) to calculate an annual salary (e.g. £8.21 per hour x 37.5 contracted hours per week x 52.142857 weeks = £16,054 salary per year).

What records do you need to keep?

Failure to keep sufficient records to show that at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage has been paid is a criminal offence.  Your payroll records will help, but you must keep records that show the number of hours your workers have worked such as timesheets or clockcards.

You must keep these records for at least three years, but it’s a good idea to keep them for six years, as this is generally the maximum amount of time in which a complaint can be submitted to court.

If you have any questions, please contact our Payroll team on or 01242 776000.