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Paying apprentices the correct national minimum wage

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Summary

Information about what pay apprentices are entitled to and how to check this in Sage 50 Payroll.

Description

What is the minimum wage for apprentices?

All apprentices are legally entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW) for their age group. 

As of 1 April 2024, the rates are:

Age Amount per hour (£)
16 to 18 years  6.40
19 years or older and in the first year of their apprenticeship
6.40
18 to 20 years 8.60
21 and above 11.44

If they're 19 years or over and have completed the first year of their current apprenticeship, then they're entitled to the minimum wage for their age group.


Do apprentices have to pay tax?

Yes. Apprentices also have to pay national insurance, and both this and the tax owed is taken straight from their wages, like other employees.

However, apprentice wages can often be lower than average, and often fall under the threshold above which tax is payable, so many apprentices may find that they don’t have to pay tax on their earnings at all.


Common mistakes

Even apprentices who you pay the NMW rates or above, could still be underpaid. This can happen if:

  • You aren't paying an apprentice who's aged 19 and over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, the higher age-related minimum wage rate
  • You're not paying an apprentice for training time. Any training time is classed as working time and should be paid

Checks you can make 

Firstly, we recommend you use HMRC's National Minimum Wage and Living Wage calculator for employers to check which payments should be included.

Once you know this, in Sage 50 Payroll you can:

You can now be sure your apprentices aren't earning less than their legal entitlement.