An exemption in the UK National Minimum Wage Regulations allows live-in domestic workers to be paid little or nothing at all, where they are treated as ‘a member of the family’. Over the years, it has been regularly used by abusive employers to exploit their workers and evade justice.
One full year after the UK government pledged to remove this loophole – mainly used for the exploitation of female domestic workers – the Family Worker Exemption remains in place. A coalition of NGOs coordinated by ATLEU, including La Strada International and its members ASI and FLEX urge the UK government to act without further delay to remove this exemption.
In October 2021, the Low Pay Commission found that the exemption was ‘not fit for purpose’ and recommended to the government it be removed. On 10 March 2022, Paul Scully MP, then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, announced that the exemption would be removed ‘when parliamentary time allows.’. However now, one full year later, the exemption remains and continues to be used by abusive employers to deny vulnerable women a proper salary for their work.