The weaker pay outlook in the face of economic uncertainty is likely to cut 10p from the wage, which was brought in at £7.20 an hour in April and was set to rise to £7.60 next year. But not everyone is benefiting from the rise as it stands.
Nuns are exempt from the Living Wage Nuns, monks and similar have been exempted from the minimum wage law since its introduction by Tony Blair’s government in 1999. Work for the community for any faith registered as a charity doesn’t count.
Up to 83 prisons in England and Wales are involved in public/private partnerships where companies supply materials and then pay prisoners £40-£50 per work. Those employed by the prison itself earn a token wage, between £7 and £12. That won’t change with the new law.
Many fishermen are paid as a share of the earnings from the catch made on a journey. They’re categorised as self-employed by the government – each fishing trip counting as a joint business venture rather than a waged job.
Members of the armed forces
The Department of Defence says it tries to follow the “spirit” of minimum wage laws – but is exempt from following them. The Armed Forces Pay Review Body said in 2014 that some military personnel could be earning less than the previous minimum wage. The starting annual salary for a soldier in training is £14,784.
If you’re paying yourself, you’re not required by law to pay yourself £7.20. Self-employed people without sufficient income may be entitled to jobseekers’ payments.
Even though 85 per cent of people believe they should be given the full £7.20, anyone under 25 is not entitled to the National Living Wage. Workers between 21 and 25 get £6.95, workers between 18 and 21 get £5.55 and anyone under 18 gets £4.
Workers on government employment programmes
People on work schemes like the divisive Work Programme, which places people at risk of becoming long-term unemployed in jobs, are not entitled to the Living Wage. Commons Work and Pensions Committee chairman Frank Field said the programme “deserves credit for implementing a programme which, in general, produces results at least as good as before, for a greatly reduced cost per participant” – but the two-year programme is compulsory and has been described as “workfare” by critics.
Anyone who lives with their employer and receives benefits like free food and rent isn’t entitled to the pay rise.
Some company directors are paid only nominal fees, and that will remain the case.
You’ll also lose out if you’re related to your employer and live with them, if you’re on a work placement from a higher education institution, if you’re a part of certain EU programmes, if you’re younger than school leaving age, if you’re on a pre-apprenticeship scheme or if you’re doing work experience. Voluntary work also doesn’t count, for obvious reasons.