The little publicised Employment Practices Bill is currently working its way through Parliament. It does however outline some key changes for those who offer accommodation as part of employment. The Bill outlines that those who do offer this must also offer an alternative of a financial payment so that the employee can take either the accommodation or the financial payment.
The legislation is primarily aimed at protected migrant or other vulnerable groups of employees who are paid the national minimum wage but then charged excessively for accommodation etc as part of their employment. To avoid rouge employers offering nominal sums to entice the employee to accept the accommodation, the bill outlines prescribed amounts for the financial payment which is based on the cost of bed and breakfast accommodation in the area. The amount will be on a prescribed scale with regional variations.
The new law when passed will apply to all workers and employees with one exception. The requirement to offer a financial payment will not apply if the accommodation is deemed to be a necessary requirement of the employment contract. The test for necessity will be an interesting one as often it is not necessary but convenient for both sides for the employee to reside on site such as those managing a public house. Would this accommodation be deemed necessary? As always it is a case of watch this space but I would expect there to be some attempt by those that provide accommodation to have this rated as necessary either in the contract or by agreement.
18th July 2014