Running a home is like setting up a small business. The same structure, hiring processes, and operational complexities are involved when it comes to employing domestic staffing.
Just like a business, legal issues and logistical details are important when bringing on new employees. In the United States, domestic staff are required to pay taxes and report their income. This means complying with federal and state labor laws. These laws can be complex and are often overlooked. Hiring undocumented workers or not paying household staff in a legal and fair way may lower the immediate bottom line but have serious legal and financial consequences.
What Constitutes Household Staff?
Household staff are hired to work in a private home. What differentiates domestic employees from contract workers is how autonomously they work. An independent contractor will work within their own schedule, use their own tools and operate within their own guidelines. For example, a plumber would be an independent contractor.
Domestic employees work on a set schedule and process determined by the employer or homeowner. For example, your housekeeper working to your schedule and using the tools provided would be a domestic employee. This distinction applies whether an employee is live-in or live-out, part-time or full-time, hourly or salary.
Common staff positions in large and small homes are:
Estate Manager – individual managing multiple large properties and all land, vineyards, private jets and yachts.
House Manager – individual managing a single property and all staff employed there.
Chauffeur – individual hired to drive a principal and family. A chauffeur may also have a background in security.
Lady’s Maid – individual that attends to the lady of the house.
Private Chef – individual that prepares meals on a long-term basis for a household. A private chef may also manage other kitchen staff and plan events.
Butler – individual in the home dedicated to service. Duties of a butler may range from household management to wardrobe care.
Houseman – individual provides deep cleaning for the home and serves a single, usually male, principal.
Personal Assistant – individual working to support a single principal or family. A personal assistant will be able to run errands, book appointments and travel, and manage accounts.
Executive Housekeeper – individual who manages other house cleaning staff. An executive housekeeper may also coordinate vendors and repairs for the property.
Housekeeper – individual responsible for cleaning the home. A housekeeper will be well-versed in maintaining fine furniture, caring for artwork and antiques and cleaning and ironing fine clothing.
Nanny – individual dedicated to caring for the children of the home.
Governess – individual dedicated to caring and educating the children of the home. A governess will have a background in education and focus on teaching and instruction as a primary responsibility.
Private Jet Staff
Private Yacht Staff