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What Is The Minimum Wage For 17 Year Olds In The UK?

What Is The Minimum Wage For 17 Year Olds In The UK

The current minimum wage for 17 year olds in the United Kingdom stands at a rate of £4.81 per hour, but that figure is set to rise to £5.28 in April 2023. This applies whether they are part-time or full-time employees, regardless of their participation in the apprenticeship scheme.

The National Minimum Wage applies to those between 16-22 years of age but the actual wage received is dependent on an individual’s age bracket.

Read on to find out more about the minimum wage for 17 year olds including; what it means for both employers and workers, and the responsibilities that employers must be aware of when employing young people. 

What Does Minimum Wage Mean?

The minimum wage is a legally binding amount of money that employers must pay employees, regardless of their job role or the hours they work. It’s based on an hourly rate that is adjusted with age and applies to all workers aged 16 and above, as well as those in the first year of an apprenticeship scheme.

What Must 17-Year-Olds Be Paid?

The current minimum wage for 17 year olds in the UK is £4.81 per hour, but it’s set to rise to £5.28 in April 2023. This applies to both part-time and full-time employees, regardless of their participation in the apprenticeship scheme.

Employers are also required to pay workers the same rate regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity. The living wage is a higher rate than the minimum wage and only comes into effect for those aged 25 and above.

What Are Employers’ Responsibilities?

Employers must pay their employees a fair rate of pay and be aware of their obligations when taking on 17 year olds, to ensure they abide by UK employment law. This includes paying them the correct wage and providing a safe working environment.

Wages should reflect an employee’s responsibilities and be commensurate with their age and experience but never below the minimum wage. Paying lower than the minimum wage is a criminal offence, so employers should ensure they are aware of the current legislation before setting wage levels.

Employers must also understand the legal implications of employing minors, including respecting all health and safety regulations, providing appropriate supervision and guidance, as well as not allowing workers to work for more than 8 hours in any one day or more than 48 hours in any one week.

What Does The Minimum Wage Mean For Workers?

What Does The Minimum Wage Mean For Workers

Receiving the minimum wage can provide a basic living allowance for those aged 17 and below. It is important to familiarise yourself with your rights, as well as understand any deductions that might be taken from your wages if, for example, you are required to provide a uniform.

It is also important to remember that the minimum wage can change over time in line with national inflation and changes in the cost of living. As such, it is important to regularly check to make sure you are receiving the right amount of pay.

The minimum wage for 17 year olds in the UK provides an important safeguard which helps protect workers from unfair and exploitative practices. By understanding your rights, you can ensure that you receive a fair rate of pay for your work.

When Does The minimum Wage Change?

The government uses its budget announcements to set the minimum wage rates for the following tax year and any changes to minimum wage payments will come into force on the 1st of April.

Additionally, as individuals turn 18, 21 or 23 years of age; or an apprentice turns 19 years old and completes their first year of apprenticeship – they too can expect an increase in wages according to these guidelines. The latest minimum wage figures and living wage figures are always available on the government’s website. 

Can Tips Count Towards Minimum Wage?

No tips can’t count towards a minimum wage payment. Employers must pay at least the minimum wage in full, without depending on tips or service charges to make up the difference.

The following payments must all be additional payments on top of a minimum wage payment for 17 year olds in the UK:

  • tips and gratuities
  • premium payments (for example, extra pay for working bank holidays or overtime)
  • a pay advance

Whenever you pay young workers, their total income (including commission) must equal the minimum wage that is legally mandated. If this amount isn’t achieved, then it’s up to you as the employer to make up the difference required to meet the threshold.

What Happens If Employers Don’t Pay The Minimum Wage Due?

Employers are required to pay their employees or workers at least the National Minimum Wage and provide accurate documentation for wages upon request. If employers have been paying incorrectly, they must rectify this immediately. Employees who may have left the job after unpaid wages were due still deserve backdated payments – no matter how long ago it was since they worked with them.

If an individual feels they are not getting the pay that is due, they can first approach their employer directly. Should this informal method of resolution prove unsuccessful, there is always the option to take it further and file a complaint with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or pursue legal action through an employment tribunal.

What Hours Can A 17 Year Old Work?

16 or 17 years olds are viewed as young workers by the law so there aren’t as many restrictions on when and how long they can work compared to compulsory school-age children, but some rules still apply.

  • 17 year olds can only work for up to 8 hours a day and 40 hours in total per week
  • In some circumstances, overnight shifts may be permitted; however, usually, these are not allowed.

What Jobs Can A 17 Year Old Do?

What Jobs Can A 17 Year Old Do

Although some professions are beyond the reach of 17-year olds due to age, safety or technical requirements, there’s no shortage of positions in retail, hospitality and catering for young adults. Even though you must be 18 to work in a bar or nightclub, many restaurants and pubs will hire staff ages 16 and above who can help with serving food and beverages or kitchen tasks.

17-year-olds could find work as farm workers harvesting fruits and vegetables, offering pet sitting or dog walking services to time-pressed animal owners. For those with the right skills and experience, there are plenty of other work opportunities available too, such as acting in theatre performances, being an extra in films, tutoring kids or modelling gigs

Those interested in IT, administration, or vocational roles such as health care and trades, can also consider apprenticeship opportunities or trainee positions with local employers who will provide valuable experience while allowing employees to study at the same time.

Apprenticeship Pay For 17 year olds

Apprenticeship can be an attractive option for 17 year olds as it’s a chance to learn valuable skills for life whilst also earning a wage.

Apprenticeships for 17 year olds will also attract a minimum wage payment that is due and whilst this figure is usually in line with the National minimum wage, it can be different, so it’s always worth checking to make sure the right pay is being awarded for the apprenticeship being offered.

The current apprenticeship minimum wage for 17 year olds is £4.81 an hour for the tax year 2022/23, rising to £5.28 from April 2023. You can always check the latest minimum wage figures for apprenticeships on the government’s website.

Apprenticeships are skyrocketing in popularity to become the go-to route for securing long-term employment. Those who complete their apprenticeship courses not only benefit from a brighter future but also receive higher wages than individuals taking on other conventional career paths.

Can You Pay A 17 Year Old More Than Minimum Wage?

Employers are not legally obligated to pay 17 year olds more than the National Minimum Wage; however, they can choose to do so if they wish to. Any wages paid above the national minimum wage must be clearly stated in a written contract or agreement between the employee and employer and cannot be changed without prior notice.

Providing additional pay to employees, such as 17 year olds, is an excellent way for businesses to retain staff and ensure that people are happy in their jobs. Additionally, setting the right wage structure helps create a better work environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated.

Who Should Be Paid Minimum Wage?

All employees aged 16 and over should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, depending on their age. Contracts for payment below the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage are not legally enforceable. No matter what a worker is promised, they still deserve to be paid the correct minimum wage rate. This applies to workers who are:

  • part-time
  • casual labourers, for example, someone hired for one day
  • agency workers
  • workers and homeworkers paid by the number of items they make
  • apprentices
  • trainees, workers on probation
  • disabled workers
  • agricultural workers
  • foreign workers
  • seafarers
  • offshore workers

Who Is Not Entitled To The National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage in the UK does not apply to those who are self-employed, under school leaving age, doing work experience, company directors, working on a volunteer basis and family members who share a common residence as their employer and complete household chores.

In addition, apprentices and trainees are also not subject to the National Minimum Wage, but they are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either aged under 19 or over 19 and in the first year of their apprenticeship

It is always important to check you are receiving the correct wages for your work, as employers cannot legally pay less than the national minimum wage or living wage rate. If you think that you have been underpaid, contact HMRC who can help resolve any dispute.

What Is The National Living Wage?

The national living wage is a government-mandated initiative to ensure that all workers receive an adequate salary. Primarily directed at those in lower income brackets, the national living wage was established in 2016 and currently sets the minimum hourly rate for persons 25 years of age or older. By enforcing it across the nation, this measure helps people fight poverty while continuing their hard work with peace of mind.

What’s The Difference Between Minimum Wage & Living Wage?

If you are an employee aged 16 or over, the National Minimum Wage is what your employer legally must pay. Alternatively, employers can choose to pay their workers at least the voluntary benchmark amount of The National Living Wage. This rate currently stands at £9.50 as of April 2022 and only applies to workers aged 25 years old or above.


You should now have a good understanding of the minimum wage for 17 year olds in the UK as well as what the minimum wage set means for both employers and workers.

To recap, The National Minimum wage applies is an hourly rate of pay that applies to all workers aged 16 and above and it is illegal for employers to pay anyone over the age of 16 below the National Minimum Wage set based on their age bracket. The current minimum wage for 17-year-olds in the United Kingdom stands at a rate of £4.81 per hour, but that figure is set to rise to £5.28 in April 2023.

Apprentices and trainees are not subject to the National Minimum Wage but should receive a minimum amount called the apprentice rate. There are some exceptions to minimum wage payments such as self-employed persons, company directors, volunteers and family members who share a common residence as their employer. The National Living Wage is different to the National Minimum wage and is not legally enforced, but it sets the voluntary benchmark amount of £9.50 for all workers aged 25 and over.

Both employers and employees need to be aware of the minimum wage so that everyone can benefit from fair pay. Minimum wage regulations ensure that vulnerable workers are not taken advantage of and provide them with the necessary protection.



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