There were 209,000 jobs with pay less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) held by employees aged 16 and over in April 2015, which constituted 0.8% of UK employee jobs. This was down from 222,000 (0.8%) in April 2014
There were 115,000 jobs held by full-time employees (0.6% of jobs in this group) with pay less than the NMW
For part-time employees, there were 94,000 jobs (1.2% of jobs in this group) with pay less than the NMW
This release presents statistics on the number of employee jobs with pay less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the UK. Accompanying reference tables (154 Kb Excel sheet) showing low pay estimates by sex, full-time, part-time, age, region, occupation and industry are available on our website. The statistics are based on data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). More information on ASHE is also available on our website.
The NMW is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. There are different rates of NMW depending on a worker's age and whether they are an apprentice. On the ASHE reference date in April 2015 the NMW rates were:
£6.50 for employees aged 21 and over
£5.13 for employees aged 18 to 20
£3.79 for employees aged 16 to 17
£2.73 for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of their apprenticeship
Please note that the estimates in this release cannot be used as a measure of non-compliance with the NMW legislation. This is because it is not always possible to determine from the survey data whether an individual is eligible for the NMW. For example, if employees receive free accommodation, employers are entitled to offset hourly rates.Back to table of contents
The proportion of jobs with pay less than the NMW varies by age group, reflecting the different NMW rates (as shown in Figure 1). In April 2015 there were 209,000 jobs with pay less than the NMW held by employees aged 16 and over, which constituted 0.8% of UK employee jobs. For 18- to 20-year-olds, 2.6% of jobs in this age group had pay less than the relevant NMW rate and for employees aged 21 and over, the proportion was 0.7%.
Please note that, due to the small sample size, estimates for the number and proportion of jobs held by 16- to 17-year-olds with pay less than the NMW is considered unreliable for practical purposes and so has not been included in Figure 1.Back to table of contents
Employees in part-time work were more likely than those in full-time work to be paid less than the NMW, with 1.2% of part-time jobs and 0.6% of full-time jobs falling below the NMW in April 2015 (Figure 2). Jobs held by women were more likely to be paid less than the NMW than jobs held by men (0.9% compared with 0.7%). This is consistent with the fact that a greater proportion of women work part-time than men.Back to table of contents
In April 2015 the region with the highest proportion of low paid jobs was Yorkshire and The Humber, where 1.1% of jobs were paid below the NMW (Figure 3). The next highest was the East Midlands, with 1.0% of jobs paid below the NMW. The lowest proportions of jobs below the NMW were in Scotland (0.5%), London (0.6%) and the South East (0.7%).Back to table of contents
The occupation group with the highest proportion of low paid jobs was elementary occupations, in which 1.7% of jobs were paid below the NMW in April 2015 (Figure 4). Examples of elementary occupations are bar staff, waiters and waitresses and a range of elementary administrative, service and construction occupations. The lowest proportions were in professional occupations (0.2%) and associate professional and technical occupations (0.4%).Back to table of contents
Estimates for the number of jobs paid below the NMW now reflect the differences between apprentices and non-apprentices in their entitlement to the NMW. Before 2014 it was not possible to identify apprentices in the ASHE data and thus establish to which NMW rate they were entitled. This meant that all apprentice jobs with pay below the non-apprentice NMW rates were included in the low pay estimate, whether or not their earnings were actually above the apprentice NMW rate. Consequently, estimates for the number and percentage of jobs paid below the NMW prior to 2014 are not directly comparable with estimates after 2014.
In April 2015 there were 209,000 employee jobs paid below the NMW, down from 222,000 the previous year. This change was driven by a decrease in the number of full-time jobs paid below the NMW. Over time the overall proportion of jobs paid below the NMW has remained consistently around 1%, although this proportion has reduced slightly since the introduction of the new methodology in 2014 (Figure 5).
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