Domestics - Minimum Wage

Posted: 13th February 2012

It is widely thought that the National Minimum Wage (NMW) applies to all workers, but there is a specific exemption from the NMW regulations when a domestic worker is treated as a member of their employer’s family and resides with the employer’s family in the family home.
A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that for the exemption to apply, treatment as a family member must be genuine, including provision of accommodation and meals without any liability to pay. The sharing of tasks and leisure activities is of particular relevance.
The EAT stressed that the domestic worker’s position has to be looked at ‘holistically’, and that where an employer exploits a worker’s position as a migrant worker – for example by paying them less than the agreed amount over a substantial period – this would run counter to treating them as a family member.