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
There is a lot of confusion with regards to domestic employees and redundancy. Many people assume that because of the unique circumstances that exist between a domestic employee and their employer, they don’t qualify for redundancy pay. But providing they meet the requirements they are entitled to redundancy pay just like any other employee.
To qualify the employee must be 18 or over and have at least two years continuous employment. This means that they must have been working for the same household, without any breaks, apart from maternity, paternity, sickness and unpaid leave, for at least two years. They must also be working as an employee under an employment contract and have a PAYE scheme set up. This does not mean that they need to have a written contract, as some employers unfortunately don't provide this. They are still considered an employee working under a contract even if there is nothing in writing.
If an employer's circumstances change and they no longer have a full-time job to offer their employee and they want to employ someone on a part-time basis, the employer is required to first offer the "new" position to the existing employee. If they choose not to continue working for the employer under the new conditions they are still entitled to redundancy pay, unless they are on a fixed term contract.
The employee will also qualify for redundancy pay if their employer moves to a different part of the country, providing there is no relocation clause in the contract.
For current redundancy pay rates, please refer to the rates and thresholds page.
As long as the employee is on PAYE, they are legally entitled to these amounts; however, the employer is free to pay more than the statutory minimum at their discretion. The employer cannot claim any part of these costs back from the state. The employee does not have to pay tax on redundancy payments up to £30,000.
Please contact Stafftax if you wish to clarify any of the above points.