Are you being paid the right amount?

June 18

Most people who work are entitled to get paid at least the National Minimum Wage. This includes casual workers, people on zero hours contracts and agency workers. There is also a higher rate called the National Living Wage; if you’re 25 or older and entitled to the National Minimum Wage (and not in the first year of an apprenticeship), your hourly rate must be at least £7.83 (from 6 April 2018).

Your employer can’t fire you or alter your work to get around the National Living Wage. For example, they can’t take work that you've been doing away from you and give it to someone under 25 to avoid having to increase your wage. You’re not entitled to the minimum wage if you’re:

  • • self-employed 
  • • under 16
  • • living and working with a family as an au pair or nanny, and not paying towards your accommodation or meals
  • • in the armed forces
  • • a volunteer or doing work experience
  • • a prisoner
  • • some trainees and interns (rules are complicated so you should get advice)
  • • some farm workers 


If you’re not sure whether you fall into any of these categories, you can check at or call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.  

If you are entitled to the minimum wage, the amount you should get depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice. You can use the National Minimum Wage calculator on to check whether you’re actually getting it. If you’re getting less than minimum wage, the calculator will tell you how much your employer owes you.

If you're not getting the minimum wage try having an informal chat with your employer. Ask them to explain how they’ve worked out your pay, and to tell you why they think you’re not entitled to be paid minimum wage - or why they think you’re already getting it.  If your employer agrees they’ve made a genuine mistake, ask them to pay you what you’re owed.

Your employer might say they give you benefits that ‘top up’ your pay rate to the minimum wage, e.g. they give you meals or you get to keep all your tips. You should ask for the wage instead - you’ve got the right to be paid minimum wage on top of any extra benefits like these. 

You should also get advice if:

  • • you’re not paid for time travelling on business, e.g. between appointments
  • • you haven’t been paid for time spent on a training course
  • • you’re not paid for time ‘on call’
  • • your employer takes money from your wages for accommodation

Uttlesford Citizens Advice offer free, confidential and impartial advice about pay and your rights at work as well as benefit entitlements; housing problems; money and debt worries and health and care issues.  For an appointment call 01799 618840.


Uttlesford Citizens Advice.  Barnards Yard, CB11 4EB

T: 01799 618840 



Saffron Walden 9.30 to 3.30 M.T.Th.F. (appointments available Weds)

Great Dunmow 9.30 to 3.30 T. W. Th.

Stansted Mountfitchet 9.30 to 12.30 Tuesday (appointments only)



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