Advice column – the new National Living Wage

Thursday 12 May 2016

I have read about the new National Living Wage. How does this differ from the National Minimum Wage? How do I check what I am entitled to?

Most people who work are entitled to get paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This includes casual workers, people on zero hours contracts and agency workers. There is also a higher rate called the National Living Wage (NLW) for people aged 25 or older.

You can find out whether you’re entitled to the minimum wage or living wage by using the TUC’s checker – worksmart.org.uk/tools/minimum-wage-calculator or by calling the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

If you’re entitled to the minimum wage, the amount you should get depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice. These are the rates:

About you Name of wage Hourly rate (before tax)
Age 25 or over NLW £7.20
Age 21-24 NMW £6.70
Age 18-20 NMW £5.30
Age 16/17 NMW £3.87
Age 16/18 or first-year apprentices aged 19 or over NMW £3.30

If you’re not getting the minimum wage when you should be getting it, your employer owes you the difference. Try having an informal chat with your employer. Ask them to explain how they’ve worked out your pay, and to tell you why they think you’re not entitled to be paid the minimum wage – or why they think you’re already getting it.

If your employer agrees they’ve made a genuine mistake, ask them to pay you what you’re owed immediately.
Your employer might say they give you benefits that ‘top up’ your pay rate to the minimum wage, e.g. they give you meals or you get to keep all your tips. You should ask for the wage instead – you’ve got the right to be paid minimum wage on top of any extra benefits like these.

If you’re not getting anywhere, if you haven’t already, call the Acas helpline. They’ll confirm whether you’re entitled to the minimum wage and help you work out your options. You can also get more information and advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or telephone Citizens Advice Exeter on 03444 111 444.

Look out for our column next week when we focus on dealing with your debts.

The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk