Jeeves, the Sound of Music, and the Dust Bunnies…..

By: Louise R.

If you are anything like me, a working mom with 2 kids that need shuttling around, animals that need taking care of, and a house that needs to be cleaned regularly (ostensibly), you may have toyed with the idea of hiring someone to help you with all of that – be it a nanny or
housekeeper, live-in or live-out. And when I say “toyed with the idea”, I mean lay curled up in a ball, whimpering, while looking at the dust bunnies as they multiply at amazing rates (you know what they say about bunnies) chanting over and over “I need help, I need help…”.

So, since this is mainly an insurance, informational blog, I will not extol the virtues of laying by the pool while Jeeves brings me a fruity little concoction with a paper umbrella, as my house is being cleaned and my children are being minded and all is right with the world…..wait, one more minute….okay, I’m back and ready to school you in the ins and outs of domestic help and the workers’ compensation insurance that might be required. Remember that a workers’ compensation policy not only protects the employee but the employer as well. There are different rules in different states, so my main advice is to check with your insurance broker to find out exactly what your state’s requirements are and the best policy to go with. I went to Donna Boonjamalik in the Levitt-Fuirst Personal Lines dept. and this is what she told me:

“Domestic Workers include Chauffeurs, nannies, home health care workers, nurses, baby sitters, cooks, housekeepers, butlers, companions, gardeners and other types of regular employees working in a private household. We would normally suggest a Workers’ Comp Policy if an insured has hired a “regular” person to perform a task for hire on a regular basis Full or Part Time such as:

1) Hired a cleaning lady 2 X’s a week
2) Hired a babysitter/nanny
3) Hired a Chauffeur

There are 2 rates. Full Time and Part Time Rates and they are based on Per Capita ( how many ) Employees there are.“Regular Employees” are not covered under the Homeowner’s Policy. The Homeowner’s Policy provides Workers’ Comp for temporary work, such as:

1) Hiring a painter to paint your house
2) Hiring a roofer to put on a new roof
3) Hiring a landscaper to plant trees & bushes

Only if a Domestic Employee works 40 or more hours a week are they required to have Workers’ Comp policy. A policy for Part Time Domestic Help is not required but always encouraged to protect both the employee and the employer.”

Now that you are better educated, I can slip back into my fantasy world….. a beautiful, sunny day by the (hypothetical) pool, visions of my perfectly minded children being taught “The Sound of Music” soundtrack by a cross between Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore, my house sparkling like 1,000 diamonds and smelling like (I’ll be darned) a pine forest, and the ever-loyal Jeeves standing by with my pool-floaty…… and the peace of mind that all is covered by the insurance that I need.