Paying the National Minimum Wage correctly in the care sector

Almost all of your employees are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. Mistakes are easy to make and you may not always be aware when something has gone wrong.

Common errors the HMRC sees made in the care sector include, not paying correctly for travel time, other unpaid working time, and wage deductions. 

Below is some useful information we have pulled together for you.

National Minimum Wage correctly for the care sector

New rates of the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) come into force on 1 April 2022.

National Minimum Wage rates effective April 2022:

Previous rateRate from April 2022Increase
National Living Wage£8.91£9.506.6%
21-22 Year Old Rate£8.36£9.189.8%
18-20 Year Old Rate£6.56£6.834.1%
16-17 Year Old Rate£4.62£4.814.1%
Apprentice Rate£4.30£4.8111.9%
Accommodation Offset£8.36£8.704.1%
This information has been taken from the National Minimum Wage in 2022 – Uprating Report (April 2022)

Low Pay Commission

The Low Pay Commission is an independent body that advises the government about the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage.

What counts as working time

For all types of work, include time spent:

  • at work and required to be working, or on standby near the workplace (but do not include rest breaks that are taken)
  • not working because of machine breakdown, but kept at the workplace
  • waiting to collect goods, meet someone for work or start a job
  • travelling in connection with work, including travelling from one work assignment to another
  • training or travelling to training
  • at work and under certain work-related responsibilities even when workers are allowed to sleep (whether or not a place to sleep is provided)

Do not include time spent:

  • travelling between home and work
  • away from work on rest breaks, holidays, sick leave or maternity leave
  • on industrial action
  • not working but at the workplace or available for work at or near the workplace during a time when workers are allowed to sleep (and you provide a place to sleep)

Example 1

A care worker has 2 appointments in the morning and does not take any breaks. The worker must be paid at least the minimum wage for the time he spends at the appointments, plus the travel time between appointments.

Example 2

A care worker has 2 appointments, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. After the first appointment he goes home to have a break before he goes to his afternoon appointment. The time spent travelling from the first appointment to his home and from his home to the second appointment does not count towards the minimum wage.

If the care worker did not go home but took a break on the way to his next appointment, he would be paid for any travel time but not for the break.

Example 3

A care worker has one appointment in the morning, then goes to the office to work there. At the office she is entitled to a 30-minute break. Then she goes to another appointment in the afternoon.

The worker must be paid at least the minimum wage for the time at the appointments, plus the travel time to and from the office. The break at the office does not count towards her minimum wage calculation.

Call the Acas helpline for advice about the National Minimum Wage.

Information is taken from

Register online for the National Minimum Wage in the care sector webinar

HMRC is offering a live webinar explaining the correct payment of the minimum wage in the care sector. 

Click here to register – Wednesday August 10 – 10am to 11.30am

“Join us on this session as we look at paying the national minimum wage correctly in the social care sector. We know that getting things right isn’t always straight-forward, and mistakes are easy to make – so let us help. We will look at your responsibilities as an employer when it comes to your workers pay – and cover a number of the common mistakes made by employers in the social care sector. Crucially, we will tell you how to put things right, and signpost you to further help and information. You’ll also be able to have your questions answered live by our NMW experts.”