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information for domestic workers

All domestic employers in the UK are required by law to pay at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). It is a criminal offence for an employer to pay below the NMW, carrying a fine of up to £5,000 on conviction, unless you're living as part of the family household (i.e. without separately metered accommodation). For current NMW rates, please refer to our rates and thresholds page.

Your Rights

  • You can check if you are above the NMW from the payslips your employer should be providing you with. Simply divide your gross weekly wage by the number of hours you have worked to calculate your hourly wage
  • If you think that your employer is not paying the NMW you are also entitled to inspect the tax records they keep for your employment. They must give you access to these within 14 days of receiving a written request from you, but this should only be your final course of action after more friendly and informal communication between you has broken down
The working time directive
Domestic employees are exempt from the measures concerning working hours but are entitled to a 20 minute rest break for every six hours worked.
Home Domestic workers frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions PDF Print E-mail

Q: My employers say that because I'm a domestic worker I don't need to pay tax and National Insurance. Is this true?
A: If you earn more than £110 per week it is your employer's legal responsibility, not yours, to set up and operate a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) scheme on your behalf and to declare your wages with HMRC - if they fail to do so they are breaking the law.

Q: How do I know if my employer is paying my tax and National Insurance Contributions?
A: If you receive regular payslips this is usually a good indication that your employer is declaring your wages with HMRC. However, if you want to be absolutely certain then ask your employer for your PAYE reference number. If you want to apply for a loan or a mortgage your bank or building society often require this - so you don't have to feel uncomfortable asking your employer for it.

Q: Do I qualify for sick pay?
A: You are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are sick for more than three consecutive days. Please refer to the rates and thresholds page for current SSP rates. Statutory Sick Pay can be paid instead or as part of your normal rate of pay, at your employer's discretion. Your employer may be able to reclaim some of the costs from the state.

Q: Do I qualify for holiday pay?
A: Yes. New holiday legislation has now been introduced and as of April 2009 all employers are required to give full time employees all 8 bank holidays as paid leave in addition to the 4 weeks. That means that all employees will now be entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday per year.

If you work on a part-time basis and you want to know how many days you are entitled to, simply multiply the number of days you work each week with 5.6. The total should be rounded up to the nearest 1/2 day.

Q: Should my employer pay me for working on bank holidays?
A: You are entitled to 8 bank holidays as paid days off, however they do not necessarily have to be given (or taken) on the bank holidays themselves. For one-off holidays, such as the Millennium or the Queen's Jubilee you are entitled to a day's paid holiday.

Q: Should I complete a tax return?
A: No, providing all your income comes from employment. However, if you are a live-in employee and you own a flat or house, which you rent out, you do need to complete a tax return.

Q: I'm pregnant; do I qualify for maternity pay?
A: To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you have to have been employed for a minimum of 26 weeks (six months) prior to the 'notification week' (NW). The 'notification week' is 15 weeks before the baby is due. SMP is payable for a maximum period of 39 weeks. The first six weeks of SMP are at 9/10ths of your average gross weekly earnings and the remaining weeks of the maternity pay period (up to a maximum of 33 weeks) are paid at the current SMP rate or continue at 9/10ths of the average gross earnings, whichever is the lower. Please refer to the rates and thresholds page for current Statutory Maternity Pay rates.

Q: I'm going on maternity leave; can I bring my baby with me when I return to work?
A: This is at your employer's discretion. You have a right to return to work following maternity leave, but only on the same terms as you were previously employed.

Q: My employer has been made redundant and no longer has a job for me. Do I qualify for redundancy pay?
A: If you have been in continuous employment for two years or more and you are over 18 you are entitled to redundancy pay - providing you are not on a fixed-term contract. You would also qualify for redundancy pay if the household you work for moves to a different part of the country, providing there is no relocation clause in your contract.