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How Much National Insurance Do I Pay in the UK?

Are you a UK resident wondering how much National Insurance you must pay? Well, we’ve got you covered! Understanding the ins and outs of National Insurance can be a bit confusing, but fear not! In this blog post, we’ll break it down for you and answer all your burning questions starting like “How Much National Insurance Do I Pay?”. From how it works to when and how much you need to pay, we’ve got all the information you need right here. So grab a cuppa and join us as we unravel the mysteries of National Insurance in the UK! Let’s dive in!

What is National Insurance?

What is National Insurance?

National Insurance, often referred to as NI, is a mandatory contribution scheme in the United Kingdom that helps fund various state benefits. It’s essentially a way of ensuring that individuals are making contributions towards their entitlements such as the State Pension, healthcare services like the NHS, and other social welfare programs.

National Insurance is divided into different classes depending on your employment status. For example, if an employee earns over a certain amount each week or month, you’ll pay Class 1 National Insurance through PAYE (Pay As You Earn) deductions from your wages.

If you’re self-employed or running your own business, then Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance will apply to you. The amounts can vary depending on factors such as profits earned and specific thresholds set by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

How Does National Insurance Work?

National Insurance is a contribution scheme in the UK that helps fund various social welfare programs, including State Pensions, healthcare, and unemployment benefits. It operates on a pay-as-you-earn system, meaning that your National Insurance contributions are deducted directly from your salary or wages.

The amount you pay in National Insurance depends on how much you earn and whether you are employed or self-employed.

There are several categories of National Insurance contributions, each based on an individual’s employment status and level of earnings. The main categories are:

Primary classifications:

  • Class 1: The most prevalent category encompasses employees earning above the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL), presently set at £242 per week. Both the employee and their employer are obligated to make contributions.
  • Class 2: This category pertains to self-employed individuals earning above the Small Profits Threshold (SPT), currently £6,725 per year. They are required to pay flat-rate contributions.
  • Class 3: Voluntary for self-employed individuals earning below the SPT, this category enables them to accumulate National Insurance credits for benefits such as the State Pension.
  • Class 4: Relevant to profits earned by self-employed individuals surpassing the Upper Profits Limit (UPL), presently £50,270 per year, they must contribute based on their profits.
  • Class 1A and 1B: Applicable to employers offering specific benefits and expenses to their employees, such as private medical insurance or company cars. Contributions are made on these benefits.

Additional classifications:

  • Category H: Designated for apprentices under 25 participating in an approved UK government apprenticeship framework. They are exempt from paying Class 1 contributions.
  • Category J: For employees able to defer paying Class 1 contributions because they are already contributing in another job.
  • Category M: Applies to employees under 21 employed by a parent or close relative, entailing a reduced rate of Class 1 contributions.
  • Freeports: Special categories (F, I, L, and S) designed for employees working in freeports, which offer tax and other advantages.

How Much National Insurance Do I Pay in the UK?

How Much National Insurance Do I Pay in the UK?

How much national insurance do you pay in the UK? It’s a question that many people have when they start working or become self-employed. National Insurance is a system of contributions that helps fund various state benefits, including State Pensions, healthcare services like the NHS, and unemployment benefits.

In the United Kingdom, the amount of National Insurance (NI) one pays depends on their employment status and income. For employees, NI contributions are automatically deducted by employers from their wages. The calculation considers different thresholds:

  • Lower Earnings Limit (LEL): If an employee earns below £123 per week, they are exempt from paying NI.
  • Primary Threshold (PT): Earnings between £123 and £242 per week incur no NI payments but still grant access to NI benefits.
  • Upper Earnings Limit (UEL): Earnings above £50,270 per year require NI contributions.

For the self-employed, the responsibility falls on them to pay NI. Class 2 NI contributions are mandatory if profits range from £6,725 to £12,570 annually. If profits exceed £12,570 per year, Class 4 NI contributions are also applicable. It’s important for individuals to be aware of these thresholds and rates to ensure they fulfill their NI obligations in the UK.

Employment status Earnings range NI rate
Employee LEL to PT 0%
Employee PT to UEL 12%
Employee Above UEL 2%
Self-employed £6,725 to £12,570
Class 2 NI: £3.45 per week
Self-employed Above £12,570
Class 4 NI: 9% on profits between £12,570 and £50,270, and 2% on profits above £50,270

When Do You Pay National Insurance?

If you work and make over £190 per week or are self-employed and make at least £6,725 profit annually, you must begin paying NI when you are 16.

Once you attain state pension age, you are no longer required to pay Class 1 and Class 2 NI. After reaching the state pension age, you stop making Class 4 NI contributions on April 6.

How Much National Insurance Do I Pay Self-employed?

How Much National Insurance Do I Pay Self-employed?

If you are self-employed in the UK, it’s important to understand how much National Insurance you need to pay. Unlike employees who have their National Insurance contributions deducted automatically from their salaries, self-employed individuals have to calculate and make their own payments.

Your profits determine the amount of National Insurance you pay as a self-employed person. There are two types of National Insurance contributions for the self-employed: Class 2 and Class 4.

Class 2 contributions are a fixed weekly amount that is payable if your profits exceed a certain threshold. For the tax year 2022/23, this threshold is £6,515 per year. The current rate for Class 2 contributions is £3.05 per week.

Class 4 contributions are calculated based on your annual profits above a certain threshold. For the tax year 2021/22, the lower limit is set at £9,568 per year, and any profits above this will be subject to Class 4 contributions at a rate of 9%.

How Much NI Does an Employer Pay?

Employers in the UK are required to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions based on their employees’ earnings. The rates vary depending on the income level and the payment date. From April 6, 2023, to April 5, 2024, the employer NI rates are structured as follows:

  • Primary Threshold to Upper Earnings Limit (UEL): 13.8%
  • Earnings above the UEL: 15.05%
  • UEL for 2023-24: £50,270

In addition to these rates, employers are also obligated to pay Class 1A NI on specific expenses and benefits provided to employees, such as private medical insurance and company cars, at a rate of 13.8%.

For smaller businesses, there is the option of the Employment Allowance, which permits eligible employers with fewer than 50 employees to reduce their annual NI liability by up to £5,000.

To illustrate how these rates translate into concrete figures, here are examples of employer NI contributions for different employee earnings levels:

  • For an employee earning £20,000: The employer’s NI contribution would be £2,760.
  • For an employee earning £30,000: The employer’s NI contribution would amount to £4,140.
  • For an employee earning £40,000: The employer’s NI contribution would be £5,520.
  • For an employee earning £50,000: The employer’s NI contribution would total £6,900.
  • For an employee earning £60,000: The employer’s NI contribution would be £8,280.

It’s essential for employers to be aware of these rates and thresholds to accurately calculate their NI contributions, ensuring compliance with the regulations set forth by HM Revenue & Customs.

How Much Can I Earn Before Paying National Insurance?

In the United Kingdom, there are specific earnings thresholds that determine when individuals are required to start paying National Insurance (NI). These thresholds are important to understand, as they dictate your eligibility for certain benefits and the State Pension.

The first threshold to consider is the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL). If you earn up to £123 per week or £533 per month, you won’t have to pay any National Insurance. Instead, you’re considered to be below the LEL, and you remain eligible for various benefits and entitlements, including the State Pension.

For those who earn more than the LEL but less than £242 per week or £1,048 per month, they are treated as having paid National Insurance at a zero rate. This means you’re still not obligated to make NI contributions, but you’ll receive the benefits of the NI system, such as protection for your State Pension. This threshold is known as the Primary Threshold.

Once your earnings exceed the Primary Threshold, you’ll begin paying National Insurance contributions, the exact amount of which depends on your income. It’s important to note that the National Insurance thresholds may change from year to year, so it’s advisable to stay updated with the latest figures.

For the tax year 2023-24, here are the key National Insurance thresholds:

  • Lower Earnings Limit: £123 per week or £533 per month
  • Primary Threshold: £242 per week or £1,048 per month

These thresholds play a crucial role in determining your National Insurance obligations and eligibility for associated benefits. Understanding where your income falls in relation to these thresholds is essential for effective financial planning in the UK.


As we wrap up this discussion on National Insurance in the UK, it’s important to understand that the amount you pay depends on various factors such as your employment status and income. Whether you’re employed or self-employed, National Insurance contributions play a crucial role in funding social security benefits, including the State Pension.

Remember that paying into National Insurance ensures eligibility for certain benefits and contributes towards building entitlements like the State Pension. So staying informed about how much national insurance one pays is key!

FAQ – How Much National Insurance Do I Pay in the UK?

FAQ - How Much National Insurance Do I Pay in the UK?

How many years do you have to pay NI to get full State Pension?

In order to receive the full State Pension in the UK, you must have paid National Insurance contributions for a certain number of years. People need to have made contributions for at least 30 qualifying years to qualify for the full State Pension. Qualifying years are essentially the years in which you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions or received credits (for example, while claiming certain benefits).

What happens if I haven’t paid National Insurance?

There can be consequences if you haven’t paid your National Insurance contributions. It’s important to understand that National Insurance is not just about ensuring eligibility for certain benefits; it also contributes towards your state pension.

Failure to pay National Insurance may also impact your entitlement to other benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance. These benefits are often means-tested, so insufficient NI records may affect your eligibility.

How much National Insurance do I pay on 50000 a year?

To wrap up our discussion on National Insurance in the UK, let’s address a common question that many individuals have: how much National Insurance do I pay on £50,000 a year?

If you earn £50,000 per year as an employee, you have to pay around £4489 per year.

What age do you stop paying National Insurance?

At what age do you stop paying National Insurance? This is a question that often arises as individuals near retirement age. The good news is that once you reach the State Pension age, which currently stands at 66 for both men and women, you no longer have to pay National Insurance contributions.

What Happens if I Don’t Earn Enough to Pay National Insurance?

If you find yourself in a situation where your earnings are below the threshold for National Insurance contributions, you might be wondering what happens next. The good news is that you won’t have to pay any National Insurance if your income falls below a certain level.

However, it’s important to note that not paying enough NI contributions can have implications for your entitlement to certain benefits and pensions. For example, if you don’t contribute enough towards your State Pension, it could affect the amount of pension you receive when you retire.



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