Last edited 02 Apr 2021

Hourly rate

The term ‘hourly rate’ refers to the amount of remuneration a worker/employee receives for each hour that they work. Those who are paid at an hourly rate can be described as doing ‘time work’, unlike salaried workers who are paid a fixed salary regardless of the amount of time they work. Hourly rates tend to apply to part-time and manual labour, particularly in construction where tradespeople and site labourers are often paid by the hour.

Construction sites can sometimes be fitted with a clocking-in device that monitors the precise time that operatives arrive and depart, allowing them to be paid by the minute, or it can be rounded up or down to the nearest half hour. Weekends, Bank Holidays and evening work can be paid at a higher hourly rate as an employee incentive.

Workers in the UK who are paid on an hourly rate must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, which is calculated over the month for which they are paid. The minimum hourly rate is determined by the age of the employee and whether or not they are an apprentice. In order to get the National Minimum Wage, they must be at least school leaving age (16) and they must be 25 or over to be entitled to the National Living Wage.

As of April 2018, the National Minimum Wage rates were as follows:

  • 25 and over: £7.83
  • 21 to 24: £7.38
  • 18 to 20: £5.90
  • Under 18: £4.20
  • Apprentice: £3.70

Workers are legally entitled to the correct minimum wage from the above categories if they are one of the following:

  • Part-time.
  • Hired on a casual basis (e.g. for one day, week, etc.).
  • Hired from an agency.
  • Apprentice.
  • Trainee employee or within their probation period.
  • Disabled.

Those who are not legally entitled to either the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage include:

  • Self-employed (e.g. a family-run building firm).
  • Director of a company.
  • Voluntary workers.
  • Workers younger than the school leaving age.
  • Higher and further education students on a work placement of up to one year.

Apprentices are legally entitled to the apprentice hourly rate if they are aged under 19 or if they are 19 or over and undertaking the first apprenticeship year. If they are 19 or over and have already completed the first apprenticeship year, they are eligible for the minimum wage for their age category as listed above.

From the end of June 2018, the Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) 2018/19 wage rates come into effect, which is a one-year agreement negotiated between the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and Unite the Union. The agreement is for a 3.1% pay increase across all various wage rates.

  • Adult General Operativesrate increased by 29p per hr. to £9.52.
  • Skilled wage rates, S/NVQ2 increased by 32p per hour to £10.72 and S/NVQ3 increased by 37p per hour to £12.45
  • All other rates (including young adult operatives, apprentices and trainees, and all hourly skills rates) also rose by 3.1%.

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