Today’s advanced English Vocabulary lesson is about pay in the UK. This is a great lesson to watch if you work in the UK, or are considering doing so in the future. Find out the average salary in the UK, and learn advanced vocabulary for talking about how much people get paid.

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Advanced English Vocabulary About Salary

We will now learn advanced vocabulary for talking about how much people get paid in the UK.

Six-figure Salary Meaning

A person who earns a six-figure salary earns any amount between £100,000 and £999,999 per year. The exact amount the person earns isn’t revealed. For example, ‘That internet marketer claims to earn a six-figure salary selling books on Amazon’. Note that this expression can be used with pounds, dollars or euros.

Seven-figures Meaning

A person who earns seven-figures earns an unspecified amount that is between £1 million and £9,999,999. Note that this expression is mainly used in American English. For example, ‘The CEO of that company earns seven-figures.’

Minimum Wage Meaning

The minimum wage is the legally lowest amount that can be paid to a worker per hour. All employers in the UK are legally required to pay their workers at least the minimum wage.

The term ‘minimum wage’ is used in everyday conversation to refer to the lowest salary that it is possible to pay a worker. For example, ‘I work in a fast-food restaurant where I earn the minimum wage.’

National Minimum Wage Meaning

There is more than one minimum wage in the UK because the lowest amount you can be paid varies according to your age. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the official name the government uses to refer to the different rates of pay that exist for people aged under 23.

National Minimum Wage UK

As you can see from the above table, they devised a complicated system in which there are multiple National Minimum Wage hourly rates! The legally lowest amount that anyone can be paid in the UK is the apprentice rate, which is £4.81 per hour (2022 rate).

National Living Wage Meaning

The National Living Wage (NLW) is the official name that is used to refer to the minimum wage for people aged 23 and over. The National Living Wage for 2021 was £8.91 per hour.

The UK government sets the NLW hourly rate, which increases every year on April 1st. In 2022, the National Living Wage will rise to £9.50 per hour.

London Weighting Meaning

London weighting is an extra salary allowance for people who work in London. It is typically paid to public sector workers, such as civil servants, teachers, police and NHS employees. The purpose of the allowance is to make the high cost of living in London more affordable for people.

Salary Band Meaning

Have you ever seen a job advertised that shows a pay range, rather than the specific amount per hour or year? If so, you were looking at an employer that uses salary banding to determine worker pay.

Salary bands are intended to make decisions about how much someone gets paid fairer. They ensure that people doing the same or similar jobs get paid roughly the same amount. The use of salary bands is very common in the NHS (healthcare system of the UK) and also in the third sector (charity sector).

For each salary band, there is a fixed minimum and maximum pay possible. The exact amount the worker gets paid depends on their previous experience and the responsibilities that will have in the role.

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Pay Transparency Meaning

How much someone gets paid is traditionally considered private information in the UK. People tend not to ask their colleagues how much they get paid because it is considered impolite. The result of all this secrecy is that it could lead to people being paid unfairly. Pay transparency aims to make pay fairer by reducing the secrecy around pay. This is done by disclosing information about the different salaries that people in an organisation earn.

Full pay transparency, in which the exact salaries people earn are revealed internally or externally, is uncommon practice in the UK. Partial pay transparency, which reveals employee salary bands, tends to be preferred. An example of a partially pay transparent organisation is the BBC, which publishes presenter salary bands in its annual report.

Gender Pay Gap Meaning

The UK government definition of the gender pay gap is that it is, ‘an equality measure that shows a difference in average earnings for men and women’. The pay gap is calculated across all jobs.

Remuneration Package Meaning

The remuneration package an employee gets refers to the complete salary and benefits that come with a particular job. This can include the company pension scheme, company car, staff discount etc. Small perks like employee of the month also hep to ‘sweeten the deal’ by making jobs more attractive to potential employees.

Annual Leave Meaning

‘Annual leave’ is the formal or professional word for ‘holiday pay’. In the UK, permanent workers who work full-time get 28 days of paid annual leave per year. This is also sometimes called statutory leave entitlement.

Time and a Half Meaning

A worker who is paid ‘time and a half’ earns 1.5 times their normal hourly rate as an incentive for working an undesirable shift, e.g. a night shift or a Sunday. Due to the changing nature of work in the UK, fewer employers are willing to pay their staff time and a half nowadays.


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Jade Joddle grows your confidence and skill to shine when speaking English.

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