Labour Research June 2012

Law Queries

Accommodation charge

Q. Our member, who works 35 hours per week, earns the minimum wage. He gets accommodation with his job — but he has to pay for it and we think that the employer is charging him too much. Given that he’s only on the minimum wage, are there restrictions on how much he has to pay for accommodation?

A. For the purposes of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), an employer is permitted to count the charge it makes for accommodation towards the appropriate hourly rate that a worker is due.

However, the maximum accommodation charge that can be offset against an employer’s responsibility to pay the national minimum wage is £4.73 a day or £33.11 a week, assuming that accommodation is provided each day of the week.

If your member was earning more, the employer could charge more for the accommodation. However, to be compliant with minimum wage rules, the amount that the employer charges for accommodation must leave your member with at least £179.69. This figure is calculated as follows: £6.08 an hour x 35 hours = £212.80; £212.80 minus £33.11 (the maximum accommodation offset allowed) = £179.69.