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National Insurance Contributions (NIC) – Rates and Allowances

  • Employees start paying Class 1 NIC from age 16 (if sufficient earnings).
  • Employers pay Class 1 NIC in accordance with the table below.
  • Employer NIC for employees under the age of 21 and apprentices under the age of 25 is reduced from the normal rate of 13.8% to 0% up to the Upper Secondary Threshold.
  • Employees’ Class 1 NIC stop when they reach their State Pension age. The employer’s contribution continues.

Employees – Class 1 – 2018/19

Earnings per week %
Up to £162 Nil*
£162.01 – £892 12
Over £892 2

* Entitlement to state pension and other contribution-based benefits is retained for earnings between £116 and £162 per week.

Employers – Class 1 – 2018/19

Earnings per week %
Up to £162 Nil
Over £162 13.8
Upper Secondary Threshold (for under 21s and apprentices under 25)
Up to £892

Other National Insurance payable by employers

Class 1A – 13.8% on broadly all taxable benefits provided to employees

Class 1B – 13.8% on PAYE Settlement Agreements

Self-employed – Class 2 and 4

  • A self-employed person starts paying Class 2 and Class 4 NIC from 16 or over (if sufficient profits)
  • Class 2 NIC stop when a person reaches State Pension age
  • Class 4 NIC stop from the start of the tax year after the one in which the person reaches State Pension age.

Self-employed – Class 2 – 2018/19

Flat rate per week £2.95
Small Profits Threshold* £6,205 per year

* No Class 2 is due if the amount of trading profits assessable to income tax and Class 4 NIC is below this figure. However, a person might decide to carry on paying class 2 voluntarily to accrue entitlement to the State Pension and entitlement to other benefits.  

Class 4 – 2018/19

Annual profits %
Up to £8,424 Nil
£8,424.01 – £46,350 9
Over 46,350 2

Class 3

  • A person needs 35 years (30 years if State Pension age is before 6 April 2016) of NIC to get a full State Pension.
  • Class 3 voluntary contributions can be paid to fill or avoid gaps in a NI record.

Class 3 – 2018/19

Flat rate per week £14.65

State Pension age

The age at which an individual is entitled to receive the basic state pension.

Contribution-based benefits

State benefits that are linked to an individual’s National Insurance contributions. The main ones are Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay.


This publication is published for the information of clients. It provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this publication can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

Company Information Walker Thompson is a trading name of Walker Thompson Ltd registered in England and Wales. Company registration number 06574838

Registered Office Empress House :: 43a Binley Road :: Coventry CV3 1HU :: T 024 7663 5522 :: F 024 7663 5518 :: E