DOL Issues Sample Employment Agreements for Domestic Workers


The Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor has created sample employment agreements for cleaners, home care workers, and nannies to assist both the workers and employers in understanding their rights and obligations, and to clarify the terms and conditions of employment. Although specific to these workers, these agreements also provide some insight into what the DOL thinks should be clearly articulated in any employment relationship.

The agreements include the following sections:

  • Basic information about the employer and employee: names, contact details, work location, start date and length of employment (if applicable. We note that at-will employment is presumed, and to the extent an agreement is used, employers should reiterate the at-will nature of any employment relationship).
  • Job responsibilities (including the fact that additional unspecified responsibilities may be required).
  • Pay and benefits: rate of pay (including overtime rate), paydays and means of payment (e.g. cash, check, direct deposit, etc. Note that many states prohibit employers from mandating direct deposit or the use of pay cards), additional benefits (e.g. health/dental insurance, retirement plan contributions, transportation allowance, etc.), pay statements.
  • Taxes and paycheck deductions: legally required withholdings, additional voluntary deductions.
  • Schedule and work hours: how hours are tracked and recorded, the employee’s work schedule, meal and rest breaks (with the notation that breaks of under 20 minutes must be paid), a schedule for regular feedback, notice of the employee’s rights under the PUMP Act to lactation breaks and a private place to express breast milk.
  • Cancellations, schedule changes, and emergencies: what notice employers should provide of schedule changes and cancellations and any pay requirements (notably, this is not required by federal law, although some states have started implementing such requirements for retail and food service employees), and what notice must be given in emergencies.
  • Supplies, tools and personal protective equipment: designating who is to provide such equipment, and reimbursement.
  • Leave benefits: holidays, and details around amount/accrual, payment, use, and required notice for sick leave, vacation, caregiving and medical leave, safe leave (for domestic violence reasons), bereavement leave, or other types of leave. Some of these leaves may be required under state or local laws.
  • Workplace health and safety: infectious diseases protocols (including vaccinations), workers compensation, risk factors specific to the work being performed, risk of workplace violence, training for use of chemicals/tools/PPE.
  • Disability accommodations: if required by the employee for a temporary or permanent disability. Note that the ADA and state laws apply to when and what accommodations are required.
  • Workplace dignity and respect: protections for the employee’s personal documents and belongings, prohibitions on discrimination/harassment/violence/retaliation.
  • Termination or severance or employment: notice requirements, severance or termination pay (which is not required under law), reasons for termination (again, not required under law – particularly for at-will employees).

The DOL specifically notes that these agreements are not required by law. Moreover, there may be state and local laws that provide additional protections and requirements.