When considering how to take care of an elderly loved one, some families want to hire a caregiver who they privately employ in order to save money. In this case, the family must recruit, hire and supervise the provider. The family pays the caregiver directly and is responsible of all payroll taxes, proper with holdings and filings, worker’s compensation insurance, performing background checks, and arranging replacement and back-up staff when your caregiver doesn’t show up or for time-off, sick-time and emergencies. Managing your own employees may offer some potential cost savings, but at the same time, the additional responsibility and liability you assume, without the advantage of an agency, may not offset the time-consuming employment demands and financial risks of managing your own caregivers.
When hiring a caregiver directly, remember:
You must do substantial background checks to ensure that the employee has no record of criminal activity or abusive behavior and that they, in fact, have the experience and training necessary to meet your care needs;
You, as the employer of record, must research the labor requirements and all the employment paperwork necessary to comply with all federal, state and local labor, tax and insurance regulations affecting your employees; and,
You will need to arrange for a suitable substitute or relief caregiver if your caregiver is ill, needs time off or abandons you.
Much of the care in the home is provided by families and friends or by independent or “freelance” caregivers, even though there are significant labor and liability risks associated with directly hiring a caregiver. That trend is changing due to the development of many capable and affordable in-home care or private duty agencies, available in almost every town across the country.