Stay Organized, But Play It Safe When Hiring Help

Bonnie Fraser, Owner, ActuComp-Ohio

On March 18, J J DiGeronimo shared good ideas on how to eliminate the energy-draining commitments that are dragging us down.  One suggestion was to find someone else to do housework or yard work, perhaps a neighborhood teen or a struggling single parent.  Before you do, consider what might go wrong.  Check with your homeowners insurance to see what is covered if the person damages your home or possessions.

And what if the worker is injured while working on your property?  The intake person at the emergency room will ask “what happened” and when the worker says “I hurt my _____ while working,” the intake person will ask “where” and then fill in your name and address as the employer.  A claim will be filed with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and you will probably end up paying back premiums plus all claims costs, which can include medical and compensation.

I recommend getting a workers’ compensation policy to cover your domestic helpers.  It costs $10 to start a policy, plus one-third of the first 8 months of estimated payroll.  And then every six months, you report the wages and pay the premiums due, or $50, whichever is greater.

Example #1:  You pay your sister-in-law $75 every two weeks to clean your house, starting January 1.  In August, you report wages of $975 ($75 times 13 weeks).  $975 times 0.0173 = $16.87.  This is less than the minimum payment of $50, so you will pay $50 for six months of coverage.

Example #2:  You pay the neighborhood college student $200 per week to mow and weed your yard.  In August, you report 8 weeks at $200 = $1,600.   $1,600 times 0.0333 = $53.28.  This is greater than the minimum of $50, so you pay the full $53.28.

Premium rates usually change July 1 every year.  Starting July 1, 2015, the minimum premium will be $150 per year. 


Have your domestic work done by others who enjoy and/or need the work, but protect yourself – and them.