Take The Fair
Care Pledge Today!

My home is someone's workplace
if you hire someone in your home to clean, cook, assist, or care for members of the household, you are a domestic employer.

Pledge How-Tos

The Fair Care Pledge℠ is a way to affirm that you will do your best to be a fair and respectful employer when you hire someone to work in your home. This person might be a childcare provider, housecleaner, or home attendant for a person with a disability or senior.

Being fair begins with three best employment practices: Fair Pay, Clear Expectations, and Paid Time Off. Once you’ve taken the Pledge, let your friends and family know about your commitment to being a fair employer—and ask them to join you in doing the same.

Fair Pay

By paying a fair wage (plus overtime), you are ensuring that your employee has what she needs to sustain herself and her family. This contributes to a positive, long-lasting relationship and healthy home. For many, it can be a challenge to align what’s fair with what we feel we can afford, but by offering the worker you employ the highest wage you can—and showing her how much you value her work—you are reinvesting in your own household and doing all that you can to ensure the best support for yourself, your home, and your family.

Here are some guiding principles around fair pay:

  • For childcare providers and home attendants, in a metropolitan area, a living wage is at least $15/hr
  • For housecleaner employers, a general guide for fair wages in metropolitan areas is to employ a worker for no less than three hours per visit, and to pay no less than $20/hr for that time. This amount takes into account that housecleaners often have long commutes between jobs and don’t receive most benefits.
  • When calculating wages, consider the cost of living, and calculate what a living wage might look like in your area.
  • For all workers, provide annual cost of living (COLA) raises.
  • Increase a wage when responsibilities increase, for example, if you have a second child or if you had housecleaning to the job
  • If you employ a worker for very few hours per week, consider compensating your employee for transportation time.
  • Prepare to pay overtime pay (time and a half = 1.5 x the hourly wage) whenever your employee works over 40 hrs/week or over eight hrs/day.

Have more questions? You can find more information, resources, and answers here.

Clear Expectations

Creating clear expectations, through open and respectful communication, is the foundation for the relationship between you and the worker you employ, providing clarity on both sides for daily tasks.

Here are some important ways to create clear expectations in your home:

  • A mutually-agreed upon written work agreement, shaped by you and the worker you are employing, helps ensure everyone is on the same page about the job duties, benefits, and needs.
  • Regular check-ins provide everyone–employer and care provider–with the opportunity to share what has been going well, and areas that might need improvement
  • Occasional reminders that you welcome any questions at any time–your door is always open.
  • Paying attention to the seemingly little things, like greeting your employee in the morning, returning home on time, asking about her family, and thanking her regularly.

More on Work Agreements

The idea of a written work agreement might seem too formal for a relationship that most of us hope will be warm and informal. But there can hazards for both you and an employee when job terms and expectations are never formalized, and a domestic workplace relationship is almost always stronger and more successful when everyone is on the same page.

A written work agreement ensures that you have a shared understanding of the job:

  • For you, the employer, it’s a great opportunity to be clear about your needs and expectations and, like any workplace agreement,  increases the likelihood that the worker you employ will meet your standards.
  • For the worker, a written description of job duties, benefits, and work terms professionalizes the relationship, fosters job stability, and builds trust, giving a worker a full understanding of what you expect from her and what she can expect from you.
  • For both of you, sitting down together to shape a written agreement is a great way to get to know each other. Later on, the agreement will serve as an important foundation to help in moments of transition or challenge, and can ensure accountability on both sides.

It’s never too late to clarify important issues in a work relationship, especially if your relationship is plagued by recurring issues and confusion. If it feels a little awkward to raise the topic months or years into a relationship, make sure the worker understands that you’re not introducing a written document as any kind of reprimand, but as a means to help both of you put concerns and ideas on the table and smooth out some of the knots in your relationship.

Whenever you need to alter or expand a worker’s job, the best approach is to sit down with her, explain the new tasks and what additional pay you’re offering, and ask if she can agree to the changes. It’s good to be prepared that she might say no, and you will need to figure out another way to get those tasks done. If she is open to it and you have a written work agreement, you can talk together about how it would be modified to reflect the revised job.

What if a worker doesn’t want to use a written work agreement? There are a few reasons why a worker might resist a written agreement: She may be confused or apprehensive because no one has ever asked her to do so before; she may be unsure  it’s in her best interests, or he may be nervous about putting anything in writing—maybe you are too.

In a conversation about a written agreement, encourage a worker to share her concerns with you and acknowledge that you understand. Let her know that your goal is to create an agreement together, a document that reflects her needs as well as yours.

More on Open and Respectful Communication

In all workplaces, open and respectful communication goes a long way in creating a caring, supportive, productive, and creative environment. Domestic workers labor in the most intimate settings, which makes open and respectful communication even more important.In this setting, seemingly small things can go a long way. Great ways to show respect and consideration include greeting your employee in the morning; returning home on time; asking about her family; expressing gratitude for work well done, and paying her on schedule. Workers often cite issues like these as among the most important. In addition to creating a clear, mutually-agreed upon work agreement, make a clear plan that you share with your employee for regular check-in’s and formal, mutual evaluations.

Welcome all questions. Your employee needs to feel comfortable asking questions to get to know you and your priorities. Home environments are very specific to the personalities that inhabit them. What you consider a “normal” household standard in the areas of cleanliness, noisiness, discipline, and diet may, in fact, be new to the worker you employ. Let your employee know that you are available for answers.

Have more questions? You can find more information, resources, and answers here.

Paid Time Off

Time off — including medical and sick leave — will ensure that your employee is rested and healthy and ready to do her job well.

Here are some guiding principles around offering paid time off:

  • For full-time employees, provide at least 5 paid sick days per year; and for part-time employees, 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.
  • For full-time employees, provide at least 2 weeks of paid vacation per year; and for part-time employees, 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.
  • Any un-used vacation should be paid out as additional pay when the worker leaves the job.
  • Provide the standard 8 paid government holidays or agreed upon holidays  of the employee’s choice.
  • Try to provide at least one month of paid family or medical leave, with guaranteed employment upon return.

Find out about any additional laws and standards that apply specifically to your state.

Have more questions? You can find more information, resources, and answers here.