Employment obligations for household employers

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Employee / workerEmployer

WA image icon This page is for people in Western Australia (WA) who employ someone to provide domestic services in a private home (someone’s house or private residence). On this page, people who do this are called household employers.

Domestic services means things such as:

  • support and care for a person with a disability
  • support and care for an elderly person
  • cleaning
  • child care

This information is only for household employers who employ someone directly to provide domestic services. Directly means that a person (or more than one person) employs the worker. This information is not relevant to businesses or organisations that employ workers to work in people’s homes.

On 20 June 2022 state employment laws changed. Previously, domestic employees who were employed by household employers in WA were excluded from the definition of ‘employee’ in the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (IR Act) and, by extension, the definition of ‘employee’ in the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (MCE Act). Minimum employment entitlements have now been extended to domestic employees employed by household employers. This change was introduced by the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2021 and commenced on 20 June 2022.

Quick links to support worker publications:

From 20 June 2022 onwards, household employers will have a range of new employment obligations.

The specific obligations of household employers vary depending on the type of work the employee is doing. Information for specific types of work is provided below. However, all employees of household employers will be:

Household employers have additional employment record keeping and pay slip obligations. Visit the Employment records - employer obligations and the Pay slip information pages for more details.

In addition, household employers need to comply with their existing obligations, which have not been affected by the changes:

Stay informed

The best way to keep informed about state employment laws is to subscribe to the Wageline News email newsletter or follow Wageline on social media.

Household employers can also contact Wageline via email at household.employers@dmirs.wa.gov.au or call Wageline on 1300 655 2266 if they have specific questions about their employment obligations.

Employee or independent contractor?

Some workers may be independent contractors rather than employees. An independent contractor is a worker running their own business, and is not an employee. If a person is an indpendent contractor then employment laws do not apply to that person and the information on this page is not relevant.

Visit the Employee or independent contractor page for more information about the differences between an employment arrangement and a contracting arrangement.

Support workers, including disability and aged care support workers

At present there is no WA award for support workers employed by household employers in the home. Support workers who work for household employers are ‘award free’. ‘Award free’ means there is no WA award that applies.

Support workers employed by household employers must be paid at least the state minimum wage. The minimum pay rate will depend on the employee’s age and whether they are a full time or part time employee or a casual employee. The minimum pay rates for casual employees include a 20% loading.

Visit the Minimum rates of pay for award free employees page for current minimum rates of pay.

Wageline’s publication Employment entitlements for support workers - A guide for household employers outlines the employment obligations for household employers who directly employ support workers.

This publication is available in standard format and as an Easy Read publication:

Cleaners

Domestic employees who mainly perform cleaning duties for household employers are likely to be covered by the WA Cleaners and Caretakers Award.

Many occupations and industries in the state industrial relations system are covered by a WA award. WA awards are legal documents which set minimum pay rates and conditions for employees in certain industries or jobs.

The Cleaners and Caretakers Award sets pay rates, working hours and other arrangements for domestic employees working as cleaners, including window cleaners.

Visit Wageline’s WA award summaries page for a summary of pay rates and employment conditions in the Cleaners and Caretakers Award.

Child care

Child care workers who are employed by household employers are likely to be ‘award free’. ‘Award free’ means there is no WA award that applies.

Child care workers employed by household employers must be paid at least the state minimum wage. The minimum pay rate will depend on the employee’s age and whether they are a full time or part time employee or a casual employee. The minimum pay rates for casual employees include a 20% loading.

Wageline’s Award free employees minimum pay rates and entitlements summary is a summary of the current minimum pay rates and entitlements applicable to award free employees.

Do you have questions regarding your employment obligations as a household employer?

Email household.employers@dmirs.wa.gov.au with any employment obligation questions you might have.

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