Section 3


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Minimum wage

This section enables the Secretary of State to develop regulations excluding certain categories of persons from the scope of application of the National minimum Wage Regulations, and to prescribe other national minimum wage rates for different categories of workers.


There are currently separate minimum wage rates for: (a) a worker who is 21 years or over; (b) a worker who is aged 18 years or over (but is not yet aged 21 years); a worker who is aged under 18 years; and (d) a worker for whom the apprenticeship regulations apply (as determined in accordance with Regulation 5 of the Minimum Wage Regulations 2015). The current national minimum wage rates can be found here.

There are special rules in relation to certain categories of worker, for example, Agency Workers (Section 34 NMWA 1998), Agricultural Workers (46-47 NMWA 1998), Home Workers (s35 NMWA 1998), Armed Forces (37 NMWA 1998), family workers (Reg 57 NMW Regulations 2015), crown employees (s36 NMWA 1998), Mariners (s40 NMWA 1998), Voluntary Workers (s44 NMWA 1998) Prisoners (s45 NMWA 1998) and resident workers of religious or similar charitable community (s44 NMWA 1998).

The Secretary of State has the power to amend section 3 of the 1998 Act to include categories for persons who have obtained the age of 26 (section 4 NMWA 1998).

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Section 3 — Exclusion of, and modifications for, certain classes of person.

(1) This section applies to persons who have not attained the age of 26.

[F1(1A) This section also applies to persons who have attained the age of 26 who are–

(a) within the first six months after the commencement of their employment with an employer by whom they have not previously been employed;

(b) participating in a scheme under which shelter is provided in return for work;

(c) participating in a scheme designed to provide training, work experience or temporary work;

(d) participating in a scheme to assist in the seeking or obtaining of work; or

(e) attending a course of higher education requiring attendance for a period of work experience.]

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision in relation to any of the persons to whom this section applies—

(a) preventing them being persons who qualify for the national minimum wage; or

(b) prescribing an hourly rate for the national minimum wage other than the single hourly rate for the time being prescribed under section 1(3) above.

(3) No provision shall be made under subsection (2) above which treats persons differently in relation to—

(a) different areas;

(b) different sectors of employment;

(c) undertakings of different sizes; or

(d) different occupations.

(4) If any description of persons who have attained the age of 26 is added by regulations under section 4 below to the descriptions of person to whom this section applies, no provision shall be made under subsection (2) above which treats persons of that description differently in relation to different ages over 26.

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”).