Are agency workers entitled to the minimum wage?

Yes. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the least that you can be paid for each hour that you work. People aged 25 and over are entitled to at least £7.50 an hour. People aged 21 to 24 should get no less than £7.05. People aged 18 to 20 should get at least £5.60. People 16 and 17 are entitled to £4.05 per hour.

National minimum wage rates are reviewed every year.

Hourly pay for the NMW is worked out as an average over your pay period. If you are paid weekly, the pay period is a week; if you are paid daily, the pay period is a day; and if you are paid monthly, the pay period is a month.

For many workers, working out their hourly pay is simply a matter of dividing total pay before tax and other deductions (gross pay) by the number of hours worked. However, some workers have no fixed hours, but are paid by what they produce (their output) or paid on completion of a specific job. For these workers, the situation is more complicated. Under the 'fair piece rates' system, an employer either has to pay the worker the NMW per hour for all hours worked, or has to pay 120% of the NMW for the number of hours it takes an average worker to complete an agreed block of work.

If you think that you are not being paid the National Minimum Wage you can contact the free Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100. You can also seek further advice from your union if you are a member, or an advice agency.

Since 1 October 2011, temporary agency workers who work in the same job with the same hirer for 12 weeks are entitled to the same pay, hours and holidays as a direct employee of the hirer who is doing the same job as the agency worker.

For these purposes, pay includes: hourly or weekly pay; salaries; piece rates; holiday pay; overtime pay; shift, unsocial hours and risk rates; bonuses; and performance-related pay connected to the individual's work.

But it does not include: pensions; sick pay; maternity, paternity or adoption pay; bonuses linked to company performance or which reward loyalty or length of service; redundancy pay; or expenses.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.