Frequently asked questions
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.
information for domestic workers
When your employee is off sick for longer than three days you have the responsibility as their employer to administer Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on their behalf. The first three consecutive days (excluding days not normally worked) of illness are known as 'waiting days' and any payment during this period is at your discretion. From the fourth consecutive day SSP can be paid instead of, or as a part of the normal rate of pay. Please refer to our Rates and Thresholds page for details of the current SSP rate.
Changes to the law from 6 April 2014
From the start of the tax year 2014/15, The Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) which allowed, in certain circumstances, employers to recover SSP has been abolished. Employers will no longer be to reclaim SSP although recovery of unclaimed SSP for previous tax years may be possible for a limited period. In replacement of the PTS, the government have announced they will be moving the funding into a new scheme as part of the cross-government Health, Work and Wellbeing Initiative. Under this new scheme, which is expected to launch in 2015, help will be made available to employees who have been incapacitated for four weeks or more, to get them back to work.
Introducing an incentive
Incentives are not a legal requirement but because many employers are dependent on their employees coming to work an increasing number now offer an incentive instead. An incentive can be a Friday afternoon off, a voucher or a meal at a local restaurant. If you decide to offer an incentive make sure you include the terms in the employment contract.