When hiring a part-time household employee, employers are only obligated to provide those benefits they agree by contract to provide OR those benefits the law obligates them to provide. In Illinois, most legal benefits involve unpaid time off for events such as voting, jury duty, Family and Medical Leave Act leave (if they have worked more than 1250 hours in the past 12 months) or other specified circumstances. And, of course, you are obligated to pay not less than the minimum wage (which, in Illinois, is presently $8.00) and to pay not less than 1 1/2 times their regular rate for any hours they work in excess of 40 hours in a week.
However, your goal is to provide a total package of paid and unpaid benefits that increases your ability to attract and keep the most qualified employee. And for a part-time employee, you may be competing with their other employer or against other job offers.
Based on our experience with part-time employees, here are some of the “basics” we suggest:
Holidays: For the major holidays (Labor Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day) we suggest the day off with pay IF the holiday falls on a day when they would otherwise have been scheduled to work. If they do work on the holiday, we suggest one days’ pay as holiday pay, in addition to pay for the hours they work. If they are required to work on a holiday, consider providing them an alternate day off.
Vacation: We suggest at least one week of paid time off per year (one week being the number of days they normally work during a week). Many families increase vacation to two weeks after the employee has been with you for three or four years. Paid time off can often be a very attractive benefit.
Pay for 52 Weeks: Whether full time or part-time, employees depend on a regular paycheck. If your family travels without the employee or doesn’t need the employee for a short period, most families continue to pay for the period of their absence. Otherwise, your absence can cause a financial hardship to the employee, whose bills do not “take a vacation.”
Of course, any other benefit you choose to provide can have significant value to the employee. One way to provide a benefit that has real value to the employee is to ask them what they would value most. Often, the overall cost of these benefits is minimal, but it is the things you are not required by law to do that will increase the chance of attracting and keeping a high quality employee.