The National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage increase in April. The new hourly rates are as follows:

Age of worker    Hourly rate
Apprentices £3.90
Under 18 £4.35
18 to 20 £6.15
21 – 24 £7.70
25 and over £8.21


HMRC reports frequent errors when apprentices are paid. Apprentices aged 19 or over, who have finished their first year of apprenticeship, are entitled to the age-related minimum wage. HMRC has also clarified that in some circumstances, those on work experience or internships may qualify as workers for minimum wage purposes. The position here is complex, and HMRC guidance now includes a new section on ‘unpaid work trials’.

NMW for sleep-in shifts, particularly in the care sector, has caused concern over recent years. The Court of Appeal has now reversed an earlier Employment Appeal Tribunal decision, meaning sleep-in shift workers are now currently entitled to NMW only for the time they are awake ‘for the purpose of working’. Appeal to the Supreme Court may change the outlook again, but this is the current position. The Acas Helpline (0300 123 1100) offers guidance if employers are uncertain what to do.

Accommodation offset rates

Accommodation provided by an employer can be taken into account when calculating the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage. No other kind of company benefit (such as food, a car, childcare vouchers) counts towards the minimum wage.

The accommodation rates are set in April each year.

Year Daily accommodation offset rate Weekly accommodation offset rate
April 2019 £7.55 £52.85


For advice on National Minimum Wage payments contact our Payroll Bureau at or 01295 250401.