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.

information for domestic workers

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

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.