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Tips For Creating an Effective Written Work Agreement

Have you recently hired a household employee? Or perhaps you’re considering onboarding a nanny for the summer or for the school year, housekeeper, estate manager, driver, or personal chef and are consider what needs to happen to make that a smooth process.

Once you have made a job offer and your employee anticipates their first day of work, it’s important to draft a written work agreement. This is a living document that can be adjusted as needed and ensures that there is no confusion about job duties, wages, or other important details that are specific to your home. While having a contract might feel heavy and formal but having one will help you avoid miscommunications and gray areas. It can often be much harder to tackle or discuss problems when they arise, and this is a great way to protect both you and your employee!

Here are some tips for creating a clear and effective work agreement for your household staff.

Considerations for Wages & Benefits

Your work agreement should include a list of paid holidays, your sick day and vacation time policy, and health insurance benefit information. If you plan to provide other benefits such as tuition or mileage reimbursement, or a vehicle for driving, all important must-knows should be covered in this document. When it comes to wages, write down your employee’s hourly wages, and be sure to outline their payment schedule (weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly).  Don’t forget, there are specific legal documents that need to be signed and filled out for your employee to be paid legally, with proper taxes withheld. They are not independent contractors and paying them ‘off the books’ is against the law, which could put you at risk of fines or fees from the Internal Revenue Service.

Job Specific Considerations

No two homes or families are the same. That means the roles that your employees have inside the home may be unique. So, write out a detailed job description for your staff, so they know exactly what is required of them. Outlining these on paper is important, so there is no confusion later down the road. If you need to adjust the job description by adding or removing specific duties, make sure to discuss this with them ahead of time.

A work agreement is also a great place to discuss your policies regarding privacy or access to information in the home. For example, do you have specific alarm codes, passwords, or apps that they need access to? Perhaps you want to outline some rules about what they can post on social media (example: pictures of the home or of your children).

And while you and your employee don’t anticipate the work relationship ending right away, it is important to consider adding a termination clause to the agreement. This is a written section within the contract that details what circumstances lead to a termination of employment. This could be a failure to meet performance expectations for the role, a breach of contract, mutual agreement, or a change in circumstances.

Once you have the complete work agreement drafted, make sure you present it to your employee(s) so they can read it in detail. If there are questions or things that need to be revised, that’s okay. Make sure both you and your employee accept the terms of the agreement, then sign and date the document.

Not sure where to begin?

If this is the first time you have heard of a work agreement and don’t know where to begin when it comes to writing one, don’t worry. You don’t need to have a legal background to write one. Drafting this document is easier than you think. If you prefer having the expert of a lawyer, a local contract lawyer could be a great place to start in writing a tailor-made contract for you.

First, our team at Household Staffing will help find the right employee match for you. Once you have found the ideal employee(s) for your home, start thinking about what details should be included in your unique work agreement. Then, be sure to call one of our partner payroll & household employer tax preparation services to get your employee’s wage and tax paperwork filled out and ready to go. This gives you the peace of mind you need, knowing your employee is paid on time with proper taxes withheld, so you have no expensive surprises at tax time.

Contact us today to get the hiring process started!

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