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Household Employee Terminated: Returning Family Property?

Posted by HomeWork Solutions on 11/3/15 6:30 AM
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Nanny_Employment_Termination-_Return_ofParting ways with your nanny or other household employee can be difficult. It can be hard on your family who has likely become used to being with them every day and it can also be challenging for you as the employer to figure out what legal steps you’ll need to follow through with. If you recently terminated your household employee's employment – either abruptly or with some planning ahead of time – it’s necessary to remember the importance of returning family property. This is a big component to ending the working relationship and something that should not be forgotten or postponed.

What kind of items count as family property?

Anything that belongs to you and your family that you allowed the household employee to use constitutes as family property. These can include vehicles, electronic devices, keys to the home, credit cards, car seats, strollers, membership cards to local clubs or restaurants, or anything else that you have allowed the person to use while they were being employed by your family. If these things are not returned in a timely manner after employment has ended, it can lead to negative consequences, including criminal charges.

How do you deal with returning family property?

This is something that should be outlined with an employment agreement/contract at the very beginning of the hiring process. Rules and guidelines to returning property at the end of the working relationships should be discussed clearly, both in the contract and in person so there is no confusion. If you are terminating the employee rather than dealing with someone who quit on their own terms and you decide to offer severance pay, be sure that this is outlined in the agreement with terms that you will not provide severance pay without returning of all of your family’s property. However, it is important to note that whether the family’s property has been returned or not, you cannot legally withhold a final paycheck compensating for actual work performed.

If you need additional information about the ins and outs of household employee termination and what is required, contact us today. We’re glad to help answer any questions you may have about the process.

Consult a Household Payroll Expert


HomeWork Solutions Reminder: It is NEVER legal for the employer to withhold the final paycheck, whether family property has been returned or not. Most states regulate when final payment is due to an employee upon discharge.


Topics: nanny return of family property

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