There are now some two million people employed full-time and part-time in the domestic help industry in Britain, according to a survey carried out by the Work Foundation.

However, the survey also revealed some startling and disturbing facts.

  • Less than 40% of those questioned checked the references given by applicants.
  • Only one in five employers had given a written contract to their staff.
  • Nine out of ten of the households which participated in the survey paid their domestic staff cash-in hand.

The first point raises many issues; have previous employers had problems with the applicant? Do they have the right to work in the UK? Do they actually have any relevant experience? These are just a few of the aspects which should concern you before you admit someone to work in your home.

The second point may not be relevant if the domestic staff worker is part-time, but certainly it is a requirement to give a full-time member of staff a written statement of employment.

The third point puts the employer totally on the wrong side of the law and in the line of fire of HMRC which has raised the penalties for just this.

The UK government’s website gives a check list of things a first-time employer needs to do. It is re-printed below together with links for further information.

There are 7 things you need to do when employing staff for the first time.

  1. Decide how much to pay someone – you must pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage.
  2. Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well.

Check if you need to apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one, eg with vulnerable people or security.

  1. Get employment insurance – you need employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.
  2. Send details of the job (including terms and conditions) in writing to your employee. You need to give your employee a written statement of employment if you’re employing someone for more than 1 month.
  3. Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by registering as an employer – you can do this up to 4 weeks before you pay your new staff.
  4. Check if you need to automatically enrol your staff into a workplace pension scheme.

All of these issues however, can be resolved by using the services of an experienced and reputable recruitment agency which specialises in domestic and household staff.

Here at The Graham agency, we have been providing housekeepers as well as other domestic and household staff for close to 30 years. We have candidates with a whole range of skills and experience, and take great pride in the personal way in which we match candidates with client families.

Take the safest and easiest route, talk to us first.