Section 1


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Minimum wage

Section 1 establishes that a person is entitled to the national minimum wage if they are a worker, who works or ordinarily works in the UK, and is above compulsory school age, and sets out the corresponding obligation of employers to remunerate employees at least this rate.


A worker is defined in section 54 NMWA 1998 as “an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under)— (a)a contract of employment; or (b)any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual.”

The national minimum wage itself is determined in accordance with section 2 NMWA 1998 and the current national minimum hourly wages can be found in the NMW Regulations 2015.

The NMW Regulations 2015 do not definitively list all of the elements of pay that should be taken into account for national minimum wage purposes. Rather, regulation 10 of NMW Regulations 2015 lists what payments do not count as money payments (e.g. loans by the employer, expenses and pension payments) and regulations 11-15 set out the payments that reduce qualifying pay for these purposes.

Where in civil proceedings any question arises as to whether an individual qualifies (or qualified) for the national minimum wage it shall be presumed that the individual qualifies (or qualified) for the national minimum wage unless the contrary is established (s28. NMWA 1998).

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Section 1 – Workers to be paid at least the national minimum wage

(1)A person who qualifies for the national minimum wage shall be remunerated by his employer in respect of his work in any pay reference period at a rate which is not less than the national minimum wage.

(2)A person qualifies for the national minimum wage if he is an individual who—

(a) is a worker;

(b) is working, or ordinarily works, in the United Kingdom under his contract; and

(c) has ceased to be of compulsory school age.

(3)The national minimum wage shall be such single hourly rate as the Secretary of State may from time to time prescribe.

(4)For the purposes of this Act a “pay reference period” is such period as the Secretary of State may prescribe for the purpose.

(5)Subsections (1) to (4) above are subject to the following provisions of this Act.

Law / United Kingdom / National Minimum Wage Act 1998

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 (the “NMWA 1998”) provides the framework for the implementation of a national minimum wage, including provisions for the determination of the wage itself, sanctions for non-compliance and protection from detriment for any employee who enforces their right to a minimum wage. The Act should be read alongside other national minimum wage legislation, including the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 (the “NMW Regulations 2015”).