Writing an employment contract for household staff

When writing an employment contract for your domestic staff, it’s important to clearly outline the terms and conditions to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes in the future. Well-drafted written contracts provide clarity and transparency regarding the rights and obligations of both parties.

There is a lot to think about when drafting a contract of employment, but these are the key elements that should be included, in what is referred to as, the principle statement.

Parties: please clearly state the full names and addresses of both parties involved, you as the employer, and the staff member.

Date: ensure you clearly state the date of commencement of employment and the date when any continuous service began.

Position and duties: include a job title and a brief description of the duties. Ideally you would provide your employee with a more detailed job description which sits outside of the contract.

Probationary period: set out details of any probationary period, including any conditions, duration and notice period during probation.

Place of work: provide details of the employee’s normal place of work.

Working outside of UK: where an employee is required to work outside of the UK for more than one month, ensure you include information about that period.

Working hours: specify the working hours, including start and end times, breaks, days off and any special considerations for overtime, weekend and bank holiday working.

Holidays: provide details of holiday entitlement, including entitlement to bank holidays.

Other paid leave: provide an overview or summary of any other paid leave (including statutory entitlements).

Compensation: outline the staff member’s salary, including the payment frequency and then method of payment.

Sickness, injury & sick pay: set out the entitlement to sick leave and sick pay and the procedures that need to be followed.

Pensions, benefits and allowances: specify any benefits or allowances the staff member is entitled to, such as health insurance, vacation days, sick leave, or transportation costs.

Training: outline the training that the employee must complete, including any training for which the employer won’t pay for.

Confidentiality: ensure you include a clause regarding the confidentiality of private information or matters that the staff member may come across during their employment.

Disciplinary & grievance procedures: it is important to set out the basic procedures or refer the employee to an easily accessible separate policy. In the contract you do need to include:

  • The person to who the employee/worker can appeal against any disciplinary decisions
  • The person to whom the employee/worker can raise grievances, and
  • An explanation of any further steps that may be taken if a disciplinary or grievance appeal is submitted.

Termination of employment: clearly state the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract, including notice periods.

Confidentiality and non-disclosure: make sure you include a clause that prohibits the employee from disclosing or using any confidential information obtained during their employment.

Governing law: specify the jurisdiction whose laws will govern the interpretation and enforcement of the contract.

Although it is important to document the following and potentially more, it is advisable not to include more detail than necessary in the contract, but refer to separate policies or a staff handbook for more details. This enables you to add to and/or change them as you need to.

Code of conduct: include a section outlining the expected behaviour and conduct of the staff member, while on duty – which may include dress code and following household rules.

Accommodation and facilities: If it’s a live-in role, and you provide accommodation, or use of specific facilities, make sure you describe the details and any associated costs or obligations.

Remember, it’s important to consult with a HR or legal professional to ensure compliance with all relevant laws, and when adapting the contract to your specific needs and circumstances.

Our HR Specialist, Lyn, is available to review your current contracts or write your employment contracts for you, together with any additional policies or staff handbook. Please feel free to contact Lyn at Lyn@corapartners.com if you would like some support on this or any other employment matter.

Writing an employment contract for household staff