National Minimum Wage Increase April 2019

Published on Thursday 14 March 2019

The National Minimum Wage rates are increasing from 1st April 2019.

Date Aged 25+ Aged 21 to 24 18 to 20 16 to 17 Apprentice*
01-Apr-19 £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90

As with all legislation governing payroll, compliance with the National Minimum Wage is the ultimate responsibility of the employer. 

To help employers with these responsibilities, Tandem Payroll Ltd undertakes the following work as part of the payroll service:

  1. Automatically increase hourly rates to meet the national minimum wage when they are increased in April each year;
  2. Monitor when employees change age bands and automatically increase the hourly rate to comply with minimum wage from the following pay period;
  3. Monitor when 12 months have passed since the start of an apprenticeship to ensure the appropriate rate is being paid to any apprentices over 19 years old.
  4. Undertake annual pay calculations for term-time employees where applicable. 

Other areas of interest in respect of National Minimum Wages are as follows:


  1. If a worker is asked to do any training that is compulsory for the job, including Maths and English qualifications, then this would be classed as working time for NMW purposes. This would include any associated travelling.
  2. If a worker is asked / requests to pay for a course themselves, this could reduce their earnings for National Minimum Wage purposes, depending on the circumstances.
  3. It is possible that training that is not compulsory for the job and is completed at the employees request rather than the employer is counted as being done in the workers own time, but it is advisable to obtain advice first and always to confirm the arrangement in writing, signed by yourself and the employee.

Additional Hours

  1. Employers do not have to pay employees for overtime, but if employees do unpaid work, their average pay for the total hours worked must not fall below the National Minimum Wage.     
  2. If you require your employees to turn up 5/10 minutes before work starts, this counts as working time.  If it is entirely their choice whether to arrive 5/10 minutes early or not, and you cannot discipline them for not turning up until their contract start time, then this 5/10 minutes is unlikely to be working time. 
  3. Employees should not work more than an average of 48 hours per week unless they agree to this by completing a form to opt out of the Working time Directive.

Taking Time Off In Lieu

If an employee is close to the NMW rate and they ask to bank time worked to take off at a later date, their earnings for their current pay period may fall below National Minimum Wage.  Any time off in lieu should, where possible, occur in the same pay period, but the following pay period at the very latest.


Time spent travelling from work to college during the working day counts as working time as well as their time at college.

Uniform and Other Deductions

  1. If employees are not required to purchase specific clothes for work but have the option to do so or are simply required to wear “smart” clothes this does not reduce their pay for NMW purposes.
  2. If staff are required to wear cloths of a particular colour, e.g. black trousers, this will be treated as a “uniform” for NMW purpose and may bring pay below NMW rates.  This is regardless of whether or not the charge or the uniform is taken directly by the employer from wages or the employees purchases the items themselves.
  3. Where the employee’s written contract permits deductions or requires the worker to make payment in specific circumstances linked to the employees conduct (e.g. failure to return company property such as uniform or equipment when employment ends) such deductions are not treated as taking pay below national minimum wage.


  1. Volunteers are exempt from National Minimum Wage provided they do not receive any monetary payment, other than the reimbursement of basic expenses, eg.  travel, refreshments, or items needed for work. 
  2. To establish whether they are a genuine volunteer, some questions to ask are:
    1. Do they have to turn up?
    1. Do sanctions apply if they fail to do so (such as your grievance and disciplinary policies)?

Below is a link to the most recent guidance update for you further information: