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Proposed removal of the National Minimum Wage exemption for domestic live-in workers

By September 26, 2023Employment

The position with regards to pay entitlement for live-in workers currently provides that they are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in respect of work done for the employer’s family household. In particular, Regulation 57(3) of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 makes clear that this applies to individuals who live in the household and are treated as a member of the employer’s family. Put simply, if an employee lives in the employer’s home and is treated as a family member then they are not entitled to receive NMW for any work done for the household. The rationale behind this is on the basis that such workers typically receive accommodation and food without any deduction from their salary.

However, draft regulations (National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No2) Regulations 2023) have been put forward to Parliament which proposes to remove this exemption, with the effect that such live-in domestic workers will be entitled to NMW for work done for the employer’s family household. The intention behind the proposal to remove the exemption is, for example, to cover individuals employed as nannies.

In a previous claim before the employment tribunal, it declined to apply an equivalent provision contained in the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 on the basis that it was indirectly discriminatory to women given that it is typically women who are employed in these live-in domestic roles. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Parliament are now proposing to repeal the exemption

If the draft regulations are approved, which is highly likely, they will come into force in April 2024 and so any employers operating such arrangements will need to ensure they bring their arrangements up to date and in line with these, specifically to include payment of NMW to domestic live-in workers carrying out work for the family household.

If you have any questions or require further guidance, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Team at [email protected].

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Nicola Clarke

Author Nicola Clarke

Nicola is a solicitor specialising in employment law and HR matters, advising both businesses and individuals on all aspects of these areas.

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