It is that time again when the old financial year is nearly at an end and the new one is about to begin. This is also the time when a number of other government changes are implemented, and one of these is the annual change to the Minimum and Living Wages. We take the opportunity this month to review those changes to help you prepare for the fiscal year ahead.

What are the Minimum and Living Wages?

These are set by the government and apply to hourly rates of pay. The rate that staff receive will depend on their age and whether or not they are an apprentice. The Minimum Wage applies to all those paid hourly who are of school leaving age – in other words if you will be 16 years of age:

  • By the end of the summer holidays in England and Wales.
  • Between the 1st of March and 30th of September so you can leave school on the 31st of May in Scotland. If you are not due to turn 16 until sometime between the 1st of October and the end of February, then you cannot leave until the beginning of the Christmas holidays.
  • Between the 1st of September and 1st of July in Northern Ireland.

The Living Wage is payable to all those who are aged 25 and over. If staff have not reached their 25th birthday, then the minimum wage applies until such time as they do.


A slightly different rate applies to apprentices who are under the age of 19 or who are still in the first year of their apprenticeship (regardless of their age). Once they have turned 19, or completed their first year, then they are entitled to the appropriate minimum wage for their age group.

What are the new rates?

The rates that will apply as of April of this year are as follows:

  • Aged 25 and over: £7.83
  • Aged between 21 and 24: £7.38
  • Aged between 18 and 20: £5.90
  • Under 18 years of age: £4.20
  • Apprentice: £3.70

Who is entitled to the Minimum Wage?

There are a number of categories of worker who are entitled to receive the Minimum or Living Wage. They include the following:

  • Anyone working part time
  • Those working for agencies
  • Casual labourers, even if they are only hired for a single day
  • Workers still on probation
  • Trainee workers
  • Those paid by the number of items that they make
  • Disabled workers
  • Those working in the agricultural sector
  • Foreign workers
  • Those working offshore
  • Those working at sea

Who does not qualify for the Minimum Wage?

A number of workers are not legally entitled to Minimum or Living Wages. They include:

  • Company directors
  • Those who are self-employed
  • Volunteers
  • Those under school leaving age (typically 16)
  • Work placement students (of up to a one year placement) in higher and further education
  • Prisoners
  • Armed Forces members
  • Government employment scheme workers, such as the Work Programme
  • Family members who are still living at the employer’s home
  • Those who live with their employer and are not charged for room and board
  • Those on pre-apprenticeship government schemes
  • Those on six week Jobcentre Plus Work trials
  • Those working and living in religious communities
  • Share fishermen
  • Those working on European Union programmes including Leonard da Vinci, Erasmus, Youth in Action, and Comenius


Do you have any questions about the new minimum wage or want more information? Our team at Bells Inc. Hamilton Stewart can help. You can find us on 020 8763 1711 or drop us a line at for all business-related questions.