What To Think About When Employing A Household Member of Staff?


Published on October 4, 2019

When taking on a new member of staff be it in your own home or in a company there are certain responsibilities you automatically take on. Whilst it may at first seem a little daunting, once you are clear on the areas you should consider, and the additional support systems in place – you’ll breathe a sigh of relief!

It’s important to be organised – and to help, we’ve identified what you should think about when employing a household member of staff?

Provide a Safe Working Environment

This is a common-sense situation to think about when employing a new member of staff. Making sure your staff are generally safe and able to carry out their job. Things such as open drains and exposed live electrical wires need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Your household staff need to be safe when carrying out their duties. You would be seen as putting them at risk to continue to ask then to undertake the duty knowing they are at risk.

Duty of Care

When employing a new member of staff, you have a duty of care over them. Ensuring your member of staff has had suitable time off to rest is vitally important. Working long hours continually will impact on their ability to carry out their duties. Consider carefully the hours you will require your member of staff to work. Also, think about whether it is sustainable. An overworked member of staff will be putting not only themselves at risk but others too. A staff member who drives the family who is not rested will be putting the family at risk. A tired nanny will be putting the children’s safety at risk.

Tired staff will also be more susceptible to illness. Staff may often work through illness. However as part of your duty of care you should speak with them and ensure that they are safe to undertake their duties again. This not only protects them but those in their care too. A member of staff taking medication for an illness should follow medical advice. And where needed, their duties altered accordingly. For example, a staff member who has taken pain killers for a dental procedure and has been advised not to drive should not be requested to do so.

Provision of Suitable Accommodation

Having a live in member of staff provides you with a certain amount of flexibility over a live out member of staff. However you need to be sure the accommodation you are providing is suitable. So think about the accommodation you can provide.

If you provide live in accommodation for your staff it should be suitable and provide privacy. Each member of staff should be provided as a minimum with their own private room.

  • At least a full size single bed, a three quarter size or double bed is preferable if possible. It needs to be a good solid bed frame. If a bed sofa is provided it should be one with a pull out metal frame bed. A mattress or sofa cushions on the floor is not appropriate for use every day. Providing a good bed will also ensure your staff member is suitably rested and refreshed. So that they are able to provide you with the best possible service.
  • Windows should have good solid blinds or curtains which cut out the light. This so that your staff member can regulate the light in the room.
  • You also want your member of staff to look their best, as this reflects on you. Therefore providing a large chest of draws and or a wardrobe is vital. This way they can store their own clothes well and keep them in tip-top condition.
  • If the bedroom is their only private space it is considerate to provide a comfortable chair in the room. Just so that they have somewhere to sit in an evening or on their day off.

A member of staff should not be sharing a bedroom with another member of staff. Nor should the space be used for other purposes by the family. For instance: the principal’s office during the day and the staff member’s bedroom in the evening.

Payment of Taxes and Legal Responsibilities

In employing a member of staff in the UK you become responsible for paying national insurance and tax to HMRC. This should be done on behalf of the employee and yourself as employer. In some instances, you will also be responsible for payments into a pension scheme. Whilst this may well seem very daunting you can look to a payroll company such as NannyTax or StaffTax to help with this. They are even able to act as your own HR department. And can also advise you on other areas of legal responsibility. Instructing a payroll company is a great way to help ensure you are meeting your legal responsibilities. Also, it’s always great to have someone in the know who you can call and ask for advice.

Whilst a lot of the above falls into this category you can find more detail on your UK legal responsibilities as an employer here in this great article written by the specialist Stafftax.

Finding the Right Person

Polo & Tweed are an international recruitment agency. We help families around the world with household staff, placing nannies, housekeepers, butlers, chauffeurs, and other household staff. We take the time to understand your needs. Experienced in helping find the perfect staff member we are always happy to talk though options and things you might consider. We are here to help make finding the right member of staff as easy as possible so please feel free to get in touch on +44(0)203 858 0233 or here.

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