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Law for Business

Knowhow - guidance - precedents

12 SEP 2012

Minimum wage and live-in domestic workers

The EAT has held in Julio v Jose and other cases that three live-in foreign domestic workers were not entitled to the national minimum wage as a result of falling within the exemption that applied to individuals who are treated as members of the family. The National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 provide an exemption where an individual lives with the family and is treated as a family member in relation to ‘the provision of accommodation and meals and the sharing of tasks and leisure activities', and no deduction from wages is made for food or accommodation.

The EAT stressed that the exemption should be construed narrowly to avoid the exploitation of domestic workers. It held that the ‘sharing of tasks' refers to the tasks performed by the family in general, and not the specific work the person is employed to do. It also stated that, in addition to considering the provision of accommodation, tribunals are entitled to have regard to other matters including the general dignity with which the worker is treated, the extent to which the worker is exploited (if at all), and the degree of privacy and autonomy he or she enjoys.

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