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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Accommodation and accommodation offset: examples and comments - when is accommodation regarded as living accommodation?

It is not possible to provide a definitive list of all the circumstances and arrangements that might be regarded as living accommodation (NMWM10100). Compliance Officers need to form a view based on an examination of the actual arrangements.

In general, the type of accommodation provided to the worker by the employer cannot be regarded as a definitive factor. The issue is whether the basic facilities exist to enable the worker to live in the accommodation (NMWM10100).

Compliance Officers will not consider:

  • the standard of the accommodation, or
  • whether there are cooking facilities at the accommodation, or
  • whether or not the employer provides free meals.

Where workers raise concerns about the standard of living accommodation they should be advised to contact the local authority who can undertake a health and safety assessment.

There may be cases when Compliance Officers accept that the accommodation offset applies but where workers or their representatives contend that it should not, because they believe the accommodation falls short of “living accommodation”. If so, they should be reminded that they may take their own case to Employment Tribunal if they wish. In these cases NMW Head Office should be notified.

It is not always easy to determine whether the accommodation being provided is living accommodation. The following examples and comments are provided to help illustrate some of the issues which may arise. These examples are provided as background information only and, as only partial information is given, they should not be used as the sole basis for forming an opinion.

NMWM10120 Example 1 - Board and lodging in bed and breakfast accommodation
NMWM10130 Example 2 - Multi-occupancy of the accommodation
NMWM10140 Example 3 - Employer provides hotel accommodation
NMWM10150 Example 4 - Employer provides facilities which are not used by the worker