- Published: Saturday, 19 April 2014 00:55
- Written by Peter and Amanda Smyth
Last week we were coming back from a conference in Maryland. On the drive back, we stopped to see some dear friends in our old home state. These friends had been our neighbors for seven years and had been adopted grandparents to our children. When we moved to Vermont, the saddest part was leaving them. We love them. They are in their 80's and she has had a tough year medically, most recently suffering a stroke. She spent a month in rehab and arrived home with home health, physical therapy, and the need to hire a caregiver. They called around and settled on a company. They didn't realize at the time that they had chosen a "registry" for all intensive purposes a match-making service. The caregiver they now had in their home was not employed by the company they had signed up with. They write her a check each week and in addition write a check to the registry that found her...even though that company doesn't employ the caregiver. They have become the caregiver's employer. If she gets hurt in their home, it is their responsibility (and often homeowner's insurance won't cover it), if she steals something it is their loss, once she crosses a set threshold of pay (around $600.00) they are officially responsible for taxes for their employee. They were not told any of this by the registry. They signed up with the registry to save money...it was a couple of dollars less per hour than the local agencies. But after realizing all the responsibility that they have as employers, they realized they are not saving anything at all and could end up losing a lot. Most people know some good questions to ask when seeking in-home care...often they don't ask if the company is an agency or a registry...and this is vitally important. If you are planning to use a registry take the time to contact your accountant to learn what taxes you will need to pay. Setting up a workman's compensation policy and a liability insurance policy will protect you if the caregiver should be injured in your home (this does happen!). It only takes a couple of calls to realize there is not the cost savings that is advertised.
Love is...LLC is an agency. Every caregiver we send into a home is insured and bonded. We pay for all of their payroll liabilities not to mention worker's compensation and unemployment insurance. We have always felt it unethical to send a caregiver into a home without taking full responsibility for that caregiver. When you are at a point of hiring in-home help for yourself or your loved one, the last thing you want to be worrying about is becoming an employer and being responsible/liable for that employee. Always ask..."Is your company an agency or registry?" It does make a difference! As we hugged our friends goodbye they assured us they would be calling their accountant...