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How to understand the Minimum Wage and what salary/wage you should receive

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Anyone who is defined as a Worker in the UK (including Employees, those on Fixed Term Contracts and Agency Workers) is entitled to the Minimum Wage. It is a legal right that covers almost all workers above compulsory school leaving age. See below for information about Unpaid Work Experience.
What you'll need: 
Possibly a copy of your Company's Staff Handbook and/or
Your Contract and/or a copy of any Trade Union wage settlements.
1: 
There are different minimum wage rates for different age groups of workers as follows:
2: 
The main rate for workers aged 21 and over from 1 October 2010 is £5.93 per hour
3: 
The development rate for 18-20 year olds is £4.92 per hour from 1 October 2010.
4: 
The development rate for 16-17 years olds from 1 October 2010 is £3.64 per hour.
5: 
Apprentices under 19 or in their first 12 months of apprenticeship must be paid a minimum of £2.50 per hour.
6: 
Part-time Workers are also entitled to the same pay as ‘comparable’ full-time workers (i.e. you must receive the same normal hourly rate, and hourly overtime rate)
7: 
Unpaid work experience – this can be a grey area as anyone defined as a 'worker' is entitled to the minimum wage. However, Government guidelines say that anyone taken on by an Employer solely for the reason to give them skills, rather than in a normal employee relationship, can be unpaid – as long as there are no set hours and they can come and go freely. Students doing work experience as part of a higher or further education course are not entitled to the minimum wage if the work experience they undertake is for under a years duration.
Tips: 
Your Employer may pay more than the minimum wage and have it’s own pay structures or you may be covered by a Trade Union wage agreement.
In June 2008 the English High Court ruled that tips/gratuities/service charges (not paid through the employer’s payroll) cannot count towards the minimum wage and this became law on 1st October 2009.
From 1st January 2011 an amendment to this law disallows Employers’ schemes that allow part of a workers pay to be replaced with expenses payments for travel which would mean this part of their pay was outside of the pay counted for national minimum wage purposes.
There is a Government Helpline 0800 917 2368 and a website that offers more advice and information about the minimum wage.
Warnings: 
The National Minimum wage is not paid for normal travelling time between home and your normal place of work and not paid on sleep-over shifts.

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