The IRS defines a household employer as any person who employs housekeepers, maids, gardeners, and others who work in and around an individual’s private residence. A nanny is an example of such an employee. In becoming a household employer, it is critical that you begin with a clear definition of what you want in a household employee. First, understand what your objectives are in bringing an employee into your household. Many people have taken that nerve-racking first step. For you, it does not have to be a step into the unknown.
Viewing a situation from another person’s perspective is always a good barometer for how something will work out. When it comes to employing household help, ask yourself the following questions.
- What do I want to accomplish in the short- and long-term?
- What problem am I trying to solve?
- Who does this benefit?
Most household employers want to balance personal life with work life. You want to know that your child, parent, or home is being cared for so that you may focus on your career. Hiring household staff is often the best solution to cultivating a lifestyle of convenience, peace of mind, and freedom.
You may be surprised to discover that more than just the people living in your household are stakeholders in some way or another to your household employment. Other than your spouse, children, and you, a household employee could affect and benefit extended family members, neighbors, friends, and coworkers, among others.
In any household employment situation, the biggest mistake any one of us can make is not planning on being successful. Many people do not take the time necessary to be a proactive employer. Without a well-designed ground plan, your nanny, your family, and you may be unprepared for the day-to-day issues that arise. These issues can result in wasted effort and time, often pulling you away from your professional duties to attend to a household matter that could likely be handled individually by the nanny or housekeeper if plans had been established from the start.
No matter if you are hiring a nanny to care for your child, a senior care provider to care for your parent, or a houseman to care for your property, you need to make a real effort to learn about, plan for, and practice being a manager of a household employee. Naturally, you will need to manage your way through some bumps in the road, but once everyone is engaged, you will be positioned to build and maintain a successful employment relationship. No matter who is working in your home, keep in mind the reality of the situation. You are making difficult decisions that affect your household and your family. Household employment is very much a personal endeavor. You do it to manage your life, provide optimal care for your children or ailing parents, and maintain a smooth and peaceful household. It is not easy, and there is no other hire as important. No matter what the type of household employee, the process is the same—learn, prepare, plan, communicate, gather feedback, and revise (if necessary). By preparing, planning, and practicing as household employer, you are on your way to engaging a critical member of your household team, one that will help you with your goal of achieving life and work balance.
Learn how A New England Nanny can help you with this process – contact us at (518) 348-0400.