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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Lower Earnings Limit (LEL)

The weekly level of earnings below which there is not a liability to pay National Insurance contributions. It is also the level at which people secure entitlement to basic contributory benefits. Weekly earnings above this point (and up to the Upper Earnings Limit) accrue entitlement to SERPS or to contracted-out rebates.

Sections 73 and 74 (and Schedules 9 and 10) increase the starting point for paying contributions from the LEL to a new “primary threshold”. Benefit entitlement will continue to build up on earnings at or above the LEL.

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