EMPLOYING DOMESTIC WORKERS
Welcome to another edition of our employment standards podcasts.
In this segment, we are going to give you an overview of your responsibilities if you employ a domestic worker.
Domestic workers are hired directly by a householder and not by a business or agency to work in a private home.
They do things such as housekeeping, or provide care, supervision or personal assistance to children or people who are elderly, ill or disabled.
If employee is hired by a business, agency or any person other than the householder to perform homemaking services for a householder, that employee is classified as a "homemaker" and is subject to special rules and exemptions under the Employment Standards Act.
A sitter who provides occasional, short-term care, supervision or personal assistance to children is not considered a domestic worker.
Domestic workers have the same rights under the Employment Standards Act whether they work part-time or full-time, whether they live in or out of the employer's home.
Domestic workers have the same rights as other employees in Ontario workplaces under the ESA, which include:
• minimum wage
• regular payment of wages
• hours of work protections such as maximum hours of work, daily and weekly/biweekly rest periods
• overtime pay
• vacation with pay
• public holidays
• pregnancy and parental leave
• other job-protected leaves outlined in the act
• termination notice and/or pay in lieu of notice
• severance pay
• and equal pay for equal work.
The general minimum wage rate applies to domestic workers, with some exemptions for students under 18 years of age.
Please go to our website for more detailed information on the student minimum wage.
We'll give you the address at the end of this podcast.
When you are calculating the minimum wage, you may take into account the provision of room and meals to a domestic worker.
There are limits to the amount you can use and simply having meals or a room "available" is not enough.
The employee must have received the meals or occupied the room in order for the room and/or meals to be deemed to have been paid as wages.
If you supply living quarters, the room must be reasonably furnished, reasonably fit for human habitation, supplied with clean bed linen and towels, and be reasonably accessible to proper toilet and wash basin facilities.
If you have provided - and your employee has used - either a room or meals, you can include set costs when calculating the minimum wage.
Currently, the maximum that you can deduct for a private room is $31.70 per week.
If the room is semi-private - in other words, shared - you cannot deduct any costs of the room in calculating minimum wage.
If you provide meals, you can deduct the amount for the cost of meals when calculating the minimum wage.
Currently, the amount you may deduct is $2.55 per meal and a maximum of $53.55 per week.
Remember, the amounts for room and/or board, plus your employee's pay, must add up to at least the minimum wage before deductions for Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and Income Tax.
As an employer, you must comply with your obligations under the Employment Standards Act.
Also, as an employer, you have certain obligations with the federal government and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
For more information on your responsibilities as an employer of a domestic worker, go to our website.
The address is ontario.ca - forward slash - employment standards - one word.
That's ontario.ca - forward slash - employment standards - one word.
Scroll down, and under "resources for …" you'll see "Domestic Workers".
That link will take you to the appropriate information.
Or, you may call our Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551.
There, we can provide more information on employment standards in Ontario.
Thank you for listening.