Help at work

There are some very confusing definitions used to describe what pay you might be entitled to.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers under the age of 25 are entitled to by law.

The government’s National Living Wage (NLW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers aged 25 and over are entitled to by law.

There is also a difference between what the government calls the National Living Wage, and something known as the Living Wage, which is set independently by an organisation called the Living Wage Foundation. They base it on the cost of living in the UK. It is an hourly rate of pay that is updated every year and employers can choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. It is not a legal requirement – only the rates the government sets have to be paid to you. See for more details.

These rates are for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage. The rates used to change every October, but now they change every April.

Year 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2018 (current rate) £7.83 £7.38 £5.90 £4.20 £3.70
April 2019 £8.21 £7.70 £6.15 £4.35 £3.90

The Apprentice Rate is for apprentices under 19, or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they both:

  • are aged 19 or over
  • have completed the first year of their apprenticeship.

Discrimination at work

It’s against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of a disability. The Equality Act 2010 protects you and covers areas including:

  • application forms
  • interview arrangements
  • aptitude or proficiency tests
  • job offers
  • terms of employment, including pay
  • promotion, transfer and training opportunities
  • dismissal or redundancy
  • discipline and grievances

You are classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities:

  • ‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial – e.g. it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed
  • ‘long-term’ means 12 months or more – e.g. a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection

There are special rules about recurring or fluctuating conditions, for example, arthritis.

Reasonable adjustments

An employer has to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to avoid you being put at a disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in the workplace, e.g. they could make adjustments to your working hours or provide you with a special piece of equipment to help you do the job.

There is potential help available from the Access to Work Scheme, which can make grants for any of the following:

  • adaptations to the equipment you use
  • special equipment
  • a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
  • fares to work if you’re unable to use public transport
  • disability awareness training for your colleagues
  • a communicator at a job interview.

You will find more information on the Access to Work scheme at

Time off from work should not be recorded as an ‘absence from work’ if you’re waiting for your employer to put reasonable adjustments in place.

Dismissal and redundancy

Your employer can’t dismiss you just because you’ve become disabled. However, you can be dismissed if your disability means you can’t do your job even with reasonable adjustments.

You can’t be chosen for redundancy just because you’re disabled. The selection process for redundancy must be fair and balanced for all employees.

Your employer cannot force you to retire if you become disabled. They must also keep your job open for you and can’t put pressure on you to resign just because you’ve become disabled.

For advice about work issues, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (known as ACAS) may be able to help. Have a look at their guides at You could also talk to your trade union representative.

You may be able to get benefits at the same time as working. Please see the Factsheet links on the right which explain the rules and also provide some useful links. They also explain what support is available if you need help to continue working.



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