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Au pairs & migrant domestic workers - minimum wage entitlement

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[Thanks to James English of Samuel Phillips solicitors for preparing this case summary]

Is an au pair entitled to the national minimum wage if certain tasks are not shared with the family? 

No, says the Court of Appeal, in Nambalat v Taher & Ors.

Under Reg.2(2) of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999, domestic workers and au pairs are exempt if they live in the family home, make no payment towards accommodation or meals, and are not family members but are treated as such in the sharing of tasks and leisure activities.

On the one hand, an au pair who carries out most of the work in the home, with the family doing very little, will not be sharing in the household's tasks. At the other extreme, a working wife with little spare time would have to do something to be seen as sharing with the chores. How much sharing is required for the exemption to apply?

The Court of Appeal held that an overall view is required. The central requirement is that the work is done in the context in which the worker is treated as a family member. People provided with free accommodation and meals would of course be expected to do more.