The population of the UK is rapidly aging. At the same time the costs of private residential and nursing homes have also increased significantly. Care at home provided by a live-in carer has therefore become a more attractive option. The cost of such care, however, can seem to be expensive following the introduction in recent years of the national minimum wage to such staff working in private homes who often work relatively long hours currently Ã‚Â£6.08 an hour for staff aged over 21.
The National Minimum Wage Regulations provides a specific exemption in circumstances where an individual lives with a family. The test of “family living” is viewed against such matters as the provision of accommodation and meals and the sharing of tasks and leisure activities. The case of Julio v Jules on this potentially very helpful exemption was considered on 8 December 2012 by Employment Appeal Tribunal.
A number of key points emerge:
– no need to show equivalence between the tasks performed by the worker and the employer;
– the degree of privacy and autonomy he or she is afforded; and
– the nature of accommodation provided.
The courts will take a holistic view to the question whether some one is treated “as part of the family”. Each case will turn on its own facts but care at the recruitment stage may enable significant cost savings to be made.