Employing household staff

Employing household staff

Talent’s aim when placing any member of staff in a private household is to ensure a successful and long-lasting placement. We advise taking a few simple steps to help things run smoothly during the first weeks of a candidate’s employment, and throughout their time with you.

Draw up an official contract

Many people assume that contracts only apply to staff employed in a business or corporate environment, but it is equally important that staff working in private households have a formal contract. This can help to avoid many problems in the future since it prevents any misunderstandings about the terms of the employment. Issues such as hours of work, overtime arrangements, holiday pay and notice periods should all be covered in the contract.

Talent Private Staff cannot draw up a contract on your behalf, but we can supply an example contract which will give you some guidance regarding what should be included. The member of staff should usually receive their contract in advance of their first day at work so that any questions about the terms can be discussed in advance.

Expect a settling-in period

Whenever a member of staff begins a new job, they will need some time to get used to the role, and to new ways of working. Try to take time to give new staff clear instructions about what you need them to do. Have realistic expectations about what they will be able to achieve in their first few days or weeks, and be prepared to deal with a few teething problems.

Schedule regular meetings

It is a good idea to have a short meeting after a new member of staff has been in position for one week. Bring up any problems or comments that you have straight away, and give them an opportunity to ask questions and tell you how they are getting on. After three months it is a good idea to meet again and carry out a full review of their performance in the role so far. You may want to have monthly meetings on an ongoing basis to make sure you maintain good communication. Make sure these meetings are a two-way exchange of information.

Organise salary payments in good time

It’s vital that your staff have confidence that they will be paid on time and, in most cases, that their tax and national insurance payments are also being made for them.

If your staff are paid more than £105 a week you will also be responsible for making Employer’s National Insurance contributions.

Unless you want to add a staff member to your existing payroll, you may wish to use a payroll agency which can organise all of this on your behalf for a minimal fee. Examples of such agencies are Staff Tax: www.stafftax.co.uk and Taxing Nannies: www.taxingnannies.co.uk

Don’t ask staff to make purchases on your behalf

Staff members often feel awkward about refusing if they are asked to buy equipment or cover household expenses from their own pockets. It is best to be extremely strict about this and to always give staff money in advance for any purchases you want them to make on your behalf. For certain positions, you may want to give staff a credit or debit card which they can use to make purchases. If they do buy something for you, always reimburse them immediately.

Keep staff accommodation in good condition

Over time, any property will need maintenance and running repairs. It is a good idea to carry out an annual inspection and schedule any upgrades to the property that might be necessary. Taking care of accommodation in this way will generate a huge amount of goodwill from your staff.

Stay in contact with your agency

Talent Private Staff takes a genuine long term interest in both its clients and its candidates. If you are encountering problems or difficulties, inform us as early as possible. We can often help, either by providing advice or by speaking directly to the member of staff and addressing issues with them.

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