National Insurance rates differ depending on whether you’re an employee or work for yourself. Here, we run through how much you’ll pay, depending on your employment status.

Do I pay National Insurance?

National Insurance has to be paid by both employed and self-employed workers.

Your National Insurance contributions depend on your employment status and how much you earn. Not everybody has to pay National Insurance, but contributions count towards your state pension and other benefits.

If you have an employer, you’ll pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions. This also includes anyone who’s self-employed but work for an employer – it’s your employer’s job to pay your National Insurance through your payslips, as well as their own employer contributions of 15.05%.

In September 2021, the government announced plans to introduce a health and social care levy of 1.25 percentage points to be added to UK workers’ National Insurance contributions from April 2022. In March 2022, further plans were announced to increase the threshold at which you start paying Class 1 and 4 National Insurance to £12,570 from 6 July 2022 – and changes to when you pay Class 2 contributions if you’re self-employed were also revealed.

It’s worth finding out if you’re exempt from paying National Insurance. If you don’t have to pay National Insurance you might be eligible for National Insurance credits, or you can choose to make voluntary contributions.

National Insurance rates 2022-23

The amount of National Insurance you pay is worked out in a similar way to income tax.

National Insurance is calculated on gross earnings (before tax or pension deductions) or profits (earnings minus allowable expenses)  above a threshold.

The rate you pay depends on whether you are employed or self-employed.

National Insurance rates if you’re employed

Your employer will deduct Class 1 National Insurance contributions from your:

  • salary
  • commission or bonuses
  • overtime
  • sick pay
  • maternity, paternity and adoption pay.

In 2022-23, Class 1 rates have gone up by 1.25 percentage points and the threshold at which you pay will change from 6 July.

This means employees charged Class 1 contributions pay 13.25% (up from 12% in 2021-22) and 3.25% (up from 2%) on their income, but the threshold at which they are charged the higher rates will change part of the way into 2022-23.

Between 6 April and 5 July 2022 the Class 1 National Insurance threshold is £9,880 a year. If you earn less than this, you won’t pay National Insurance contributions. If you earn more, you’ll pay 13.25% of your earnings between £9,880 and £50,270. You’ll pay 3.25% on any earnings above £50,270.

From 6 July the National Insurance threshold will rise; Class 1 rates will only kick in on earnings over £12,570 – meaning you can keep more of your money before paying NI.

Employed
How much you earn Class 1 rate (6 April – 5 July) How much you earn Class 1 rate (6 April – 5 July)
Less than £9,880 0% Less than £12,570 0%
£9,880-£50,270 13.25% £12,570-£50,270 13.25%
More than £50,270 3.25% More than £50,270 3.25%

National Insurance rates if you’re self-employed

If you’re self-employed, you could pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance.

Class 4 rates have increased by 1.25 percentage points to 10.25% (up from 9% in 2021-22) and 3.25% (up from 2% in 2021-22).

Class 2 rates are charged at a flat rate of £3.15 per week in 2022-23, up from £3.05 in 2021-22.

The threshold (called the ‘lower profits limit’ or LPL) at which you pay Class 4 rates will effectively be £9,880 a year (£190 weekly) between 6 April and 5 July, rising to £12,570 a year (£242 weekly) from 6 July.

Meanwhile, Class 2 contributions are being scrapped for those that earn between the ‘small profits threshold’ or SPT (£6,725) and the LPL from 6 April 2022.

The government says the LPL will be set at an annualised threshold of £11,908 (equivalent to 13 weeks at the threshold of £9,880 and 39 weeks at £12,570) to ensure the benefit the self-employed get is in line with employees for 2022-23.

Even though Class 2 contributions are being scrapped, those with profits between the SPT (£6,725) and the LPL (£11,908) will still be able to build-up National Insurance credits to secure entitlement to contributory benefits.

On profits below the SPT, you won’t automatically pay Class 2 contributions, but you can pay them voluntarily.

You can find out more using the personal tax factsheet.

Our calculator below offers a rough estimate of how your tax bill will break down if you are self-employed under the changes outlined above.

Find out more: tax for the self-employed – this comprehensive guide explains which taxes you are likely to have to pay

  • Get a head start on your 2021-22 tax return with the Which? Tax Calculator. Tot up your bill, get jargon-free, money-saving tips and submit your return direct to HMRC.

National Insurance calculator 2022-23

Use our National Insurance calculator to discover how much you’ll pay this year.

You can also see what you would owe for previous years, based on your income – simply select the tax year you want to see from the dropdown menu.

The figures shown indicate what you’d owe on an annual basis, and assume you’ve worked for the full tax year.

The calculator makes standard assumptions about employed and self-employed people to estimate your tax breakdown. So bear in mind that what you will take home also depends on other factors such as your pension contributions and student loan repayments – and can vary depending on your tax code.

To find out your total bill for 2022-23 you will need to check what you will pay between 6 April and 5 July and then again between 6 July and 5 April and add the two figures together.

Voluntary ‘Class 3’ National Insurance rates

If you’re missing any National Insurance contributions, you can fill in gaps by paying Class 3 ‘voluntary’ contributions.

You can only pay voluntary contributions if:

  • you’re not working
  • you’re not liable for, or you’re exempt from, Class 1 or Class 2 contributions
  • your contributions for a specific year aren’t enough to count towards state pension entitlement, or
  • you live abroad

In 2022-23, Class 3 contributions are £15.85 a week, up from £15.40 a week in 2021-22.

Find out more: making voluntary National Insurance contributions.

The ‘married woman’s stamp’

Until 1977, married women could opt to make National Insurance contributions at a reduced rate. They stopped building up entitlement to state pension in their own right and instead relied on their husband’s National Insurance contributions record.

This was known as the ‘married woman’s stamp’.

Women who took this option can continue to make reduced National Insurance contributions or pay at the full rate and build up individual pension entitlement. With reduced contributions, their maximum entitlement is currently 60% of basic state pension.

Since 2016, any women in this position who have yet to reach state pension age will no longer be eligible. Their pension entitlement will depend instead on the number of qualifying years’ National Insurance contributions they have made in their own right. The minimum required to get any state pension is 10 years.