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Paid Time Off – What Household Employers Need to Know

Published October 30, 2014

By Tom Breedlove, HomePay by Breedlove – The holiday season is just around the corner, which means families are starting to make plans to travel, see loved ones and use up the rest of their vacation days before 2015 begins. So with the idea of time off on many people’s minds, it’s a good time to talk about how things like vacation and sick days work if you employ an in-home caregiver. Many of us are simply told when we began our current job how many vacation days, sick days or personal days we get each year and we just accept that. But did you know there are federal and state labor laws in place that dictate paid time off?

If you employ a caregiver in your home, federal law does not explicitly require you to offer any form of paid time off to your employee. However, in the state of New York, after 1 year of employment, you are required to provide at least 3 paid days off. The law makes no designation whether these should be vacation, personal days or holidays – just that your employee is entitled to have 3 paid days off. Most families that want to attract a quality caregiver probably already offer this minimum, but in case you’re reading this trying to plan the benefits package for your employee, keep that number in mind.

Additionally, if you live in New York City, you’re required to provide 2 days of paid sick time per calendar year after your caregiver has worked for you for 1 year. Any unused sick time is allowed to be carried over to the next year or paid to the caregiver if they are terminated. City law also requires you to keep sick time records for 3 years.

Finally, the state requires you to provide a written notice to your caregiver about your policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave and holidays. This can be worked into your formal employment agreement and is a great way to get on the same page during the hiring process so your working relationship is positive from the start. Whatever you decide on with your caregiver, just make sure it’s in writing and understood by your employee before they begin working for you. The holiday season is not a good time to have a conversation about how many vacation days your caregiver has left in the year.

If you need help putting together a sample employment contract that includes paid time off, you can find one at And if there are other aspects about being a household employer you get stuck with, just visit our state-specific tax page on the HomePay website.

By Tom Breedlove, HomePay by Breedlove

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