The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 in the UK came into force on 1 April 1999. It provides for a single national minimum wage with no variations by region, occupation or size of company, and covers all relevant workers employed under a contract of employment or any other contract.
The detailed rules of the national minimum wage (NMW) are contained in the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999.These are updated annually with new minimum rates.
All relevant workers must be paid the minimum hourly wage averaged across a ‘relevant pay period’. Rules exist to say what relevant pay is, and how relevant hours are calculated for different types of workers.
The Living Wage
The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually, calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.
The principle of equal pay originates from Article 141 of the Treaty of Rome and, later, the Equal Pay Directive, which underpinned the rights in Europe to equal pay between men and women. The UK implemented these EU provisions by the Equal Pay Act 1970, and the provisions are largely replicated in the Equality Act 2010, which gives the right to equal pay to men and women.