Terminating a Household Employee

These household employee termination guidelines will help ensure that you follow proper procedures when terminating your worker.

When Hiring Your Employee

  • Establish detailed information in your employee handbook regarding your termination policy and practice as well as severance policy.
  • Obtain a signed confidentiality agreement from your employee.
  • Detail termination procedures in the work agreement.

Before You Inform Your Employee of Termination

  • Prepare a concisely-worded termination letter with information on final payment.
  • Practice what you will say. Be prepared, consistent, and concise.
  • Gather materials kept in the employee’s file – signed work agreement, performance reviews, history of absences, etc. – to support your termination decision.
  • Ensure that all explanations are legitimate and that your actions can be documented.

When to Inform Your Employee of Termination

  • Avoid any lead time between firing and departing. The best time to set a termination meeting is at the end of the workday.

How to Break the News

  • Meet without children or dependents present.
  • State the decision to terminate twice.
  • Have an adult witness present.
  • Allow for your employee’s response to avoid one-way communication.

What Else You Need to Say

  • Review your severance policy.
  • Let them know they can apply for unemployment compensation.
  • Reiterate the confidentiality agreement that the employee signed at the beginning of employment. What the employee has learned about the family is private, and that confidentiality was agreed upon for the term of employment, as well as after employment ended.

What Else You Need to Do

  • Provide your employee with a checklist and deadline to return employer property, such as the employee handbook, security codes, keys, car seats, and other family items.
  • Escort your employee from the premises.
  • For security reasons, notify neighbors and your child(ren)’s school that your employee no longer works for your family.
  • Pay your employee for all hours worked up to termination.
  • Provide a letter of reference for future work (if appropriate).
  • Follow COBRA by offering the employee the option to continue her or his health insurance coverage. Even if exempt from COBRA requirements, consider extending to the employee an option for continued health insurance coverage.

We are here to help with household employee termination. Feel free to call us at (800) 929-9213 or email [email protected] with your questions about household employee termination.

Also, download The Complete Guide to Household Payroll. It will help you every step of the way and explain everything you need to do. There’s even a handy checklist and payroll calendar at the end of the guide to use as references.

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