The Importance of Employment Contracts When Hiring Domestic Staff

When hiring a new employee, whether a personal chef, personal assistant, nanny or any other household staff, an employment contract is a great opportunity for you and the new hire to go over all the details of the role.

Important Aspects to Include in Your Domestic Staff Contracts

  • Employee title
  • Employee duties and responsibilities
  • Compensation & Payrolling
  • Benefits
  • Hours
  • Vacation, personal and sick days as well as disability, maternity, bereavement and other absences
  • Confidentiality: proprietary information
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Disciplinary/Termination procedures
  • Notice periods

Discussing these will help both you and your new employee to understand the expectations you have for each other. Presenting a new household employee with a contract and allowing them time to review and ask questions is a great way to make sure everyone understands the job and is in agreement from the start.

While a contract provides accountability, as you and your employee are now held legally responsible for maintaining the standards set forth in the contract, you should also keep in mind that there is a lack of flexibility as well. A contract locks you into terms you may want to alter later, which means engaging in new negotiations that could potentially end not mutually beneficial. Sometimes, it is best to have a different contract made for each domestic staff role tailored specifically to them, in order to ensure the contract is as fair as possible.

About Private Staff Group

There are important pre and post-employment considerations when hiring private staff. Once staff is onboard, an employer needs to ensure proper IRS and state and local employment compliance and payroll tax obligations. Private Staff Group offers employment solutions to handle these important staffing requirements. For more information on our staffing solutions, contact us today.

NDAs for Decorators of Affluent Homes

These days—especially when it comes to high-end residential projects—non-disclosure agreements are, as interior designer David Scott puts it, “as commonplace as Ubers and Starbucks.” So much so, in fact, that several architects and designers asked by T&C to comment on the increasing ubiquity of decorator NDAs wouldn’t comment—or, in one case, would only do so anonymously. Some did, however, speak on the record, and they have some constructive advice for the extremely private.

No Dogs Allowed

Scott was once asked to sign an NDA that extended to the clients’ pets. That’s a no-go. You should limit demands to the classics, says acclaimed French architect and interior designer Robert Couturier: “You won’t divulge who you’re working for, how much money they spend, or where they live. Often you have to have all your subcontractors sign one as well.”

Manage Your Ego

“NDAs make sense when it’s a matter of security, when a family could be threatened,” Couturier says. “It’s incredibly irritating, though, when it’s for a society woman who posts photos of herself waking up in the morning and thrives on notoriety.”

Beware of Social Media

“For one client,” Couturier says, “I had to go through my Instagram account and erase pictures that I had taken of the construction site. He had flipped through thousands of posts trying to find those of his job site. That must have taken him hours. I think people have an incredibly inflated opinion of themselves.”

Call It The Michael Cohen Statue

One architect who asked to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize high-profile projects pleads with clients not to get him involved with law enforcement. “Sometimes,” the architect says, “NDAs ask for restrictions on disclosing information that seem as if they were written by someone trying to hide something from Robert Mueller!”

Leave No Paper Trail

“Many NDAs have archaic language from the days of paper files that doesn’t seem relevant any longer, such as a commitment to destroy all copies if asked,” says the anonymous architect. “This is nearly impossible in a digitally backed-up era.”

Trust Matters

Some NDAs are too demanding. Adjust accordingly. “When documents become so one-sided that they tip away from reasonable restrictions,” says the architect, “you really start to wonder about the intent of the person on the other side.”

Couturier asks, “If a client doesn’t trust his or her designer to protect him, what’s the point of working together?”

Attribution: Town and Country Magazine- April 2019