12 December 2011 #Employment
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) does not apply to those who live in their employer`s family home, are treated as a member of the family and are not charged for food or accommodation. However, for this exemption to apply, the worker must be treated as part of the family in respect of the provision of accommodation and meals and the sharing of tasks and leisure activities.
In Julio & ors v Jose & ors (2011), the EAT has confirmed that this exemption should be construed narrowly and that there is no one single factor in determining if it applies. Rather, the entire arrangement and the nature of the relationship are relevant and the situation should be analysed as a whole. Consideration should also be given to the general dignity of the worker’s situation.
As for the meaning of “sharing of tasks” with the family, the EAT stated that this relates to tasks done by the family as a whole – not the sharing of the work done by the worker under the contract.
The EAT rejected a literal approach to the requirement that the worker undertakes tasks jointly with the family, or that there should be some equivalence between the tasks done by the family and the worker, noting that every family is different and tasks are often divided up between family members.