Household Employee Overtime: Change Coming

Household Employee Overtime: Change Coming
May 18, 2016
Household employee overtime rules are commonly misunderstood, and often just plain ignored. The vast majority of household employees – nannies, senior caregivers, housekeepers, etc. – are classified as non-exempt (NOT exempt from overtime rules) employees. These household employees must be paid overtime.
KathyWebbHowever some more skilled household employees – estate managers, head housekeeper or house managers for example – may be considered exempt or hourly employees. This classification is largely depended on the actual work performed and not on the employee’s title. This is where the change is coming!
Salaried employees are paid the same amount every work week regardless of the actual number of days worked or actual hours worked. The primary work performed by a salaried household employee must be supervision, not actually doing (there is an 80/20 rule used in this determination). Today, in general a salaried household employee who is paid $23, 600 per year or more (last updated in 2004) AND has a span of control over two or more employeesAND whose time is primarily spend in supervisory activities may be considered exempt from the FLSA’s overtime rules.
New Household Employee Overtime Rules
Changes are coming, however, and now is the time to prepare. In March 2014 President Obama signed an executive memorandum instructing the U.S. Department of Labor to review the standards defining a salaried, exempt employee. The US DOL has published proposed rules changes in July 2015 that are widely expected to become effective in 2016.
The key change for household employment is the implementation of a formula that sets the minimum annual salary for an exempt (salaried) worker that keeps up with inflation without the need for rules changes. This formula, when adopted, will increase the minimum weekly salary in 2016 to $913 or $47,476 annually. In 2016, a salaried household employee earning between $47,476 and $134,004 annually must meet the supervision tests described above to retain the exemption from overtime. It is assumed that highly compensated employees earning $134,004 or more per year and who “customarily and regularly” perform one of the exempt duties of an administrative, executive or professional employee are generally exempt. The duties requirement is relaxed because a high level of compensation is a strong indicator that an employee is exempt.

When the rule becomes effective December 1, 2016, all household employees who are paid less than $47,476(2016) no matter their duties are hourly employees entitled to overtime.

Written by
Kathleen (Kathy) WebbPresident of HomeWork Solutions, Inc. | Household Payroll & Employment Tax

Reposted from Facebook

Core Professional Duties in Private Service

logoSmallThe following article was authored by Starkey International.
Positions in a Private Home need to be clear and concise to be successful. This is the profession of the Business of Household Management. It literally means setting up a structure much like you would in a business, to effectively manage the home. The Principals depend on their staff and may not be able to manage the home themselves due to personal commitments. Thus, this administrative piece is most important and is typically given to the Estate Manager, the Household Manager, and in some cases where there is a full time Principal actively involved in the home, the Personal Assistant.

Core Professional Duties in Private Service

Positions in a Private Home need to be clear and concise to be successful. This is the profession of the Business of
Household Management. It literally means setting up a structure much like you would in a business, to effectively manage the home.
The Principals depend on their staff and may not be able to manage the home themselves due to personal commitments. Thus, this
administrative piece is most important and is typically given to the Estate Manager, the Household Manager, and in some cases where
there is a full time Principal actively involved in the home, the Personal Assistant.

In all cases, it is important to set the tone of the environment right away and establish who the staff and vendors are, and what their responsibilities
and duties are in the home. This can be accomplished with listing Core Professional Duties or Position Descriptions of each staff member.
If this task is still unclear, Starkey offers a short one-week, 40 hour “Systems Course” via Correspondence or at Starkey to teach the Principal or
Family Office staff person who is responsible for accomplishing this task.

Core Professional Duties of the Estate Manager

iStock_000004801707MediumOverall Management of an Estate, or multiple Estates, is quite different from the detail of daily service delivery. Understanding the difference can make the difference of preventing turnover. An Estate Manager’s position is to take on the responsibilities involved in upholding the Service Vision and overall quality of life of the Principal and their family. The Estate Manager should approach a Private Service Management position with the following perspective:

Over all Service Vision
Learn the depth of clarity necessary to execute all operations within a Service Environment; utilize the Starkey Service Management Model taught in the “Systems Course” with careful, skillful and intentional listening to the Principal’s Service Vision.
This written Customized Service Management Plan process will reveal and summarize the economic, human, and social factors required for the successful completion of setting up all aspects of the Principal’s overall Lifestyle, Service Vision and their Environments.

Be sure to achieve agreement with the Principal on the Service Vision, Service Goals and the overall Service Management
Plan, including the staff and resources needed to fulfill the service expectations for each home and Service Environment.

Service Management Blueprint and Budget Use the now-complete Service Management Plan Blueprint to gather
and analyze the overall budget necessary for the Household/Estate and Service Environment fiscal management. Create and refine monthly, quarterly, and fiscal year budgets in cooperation with the Family Office or Accountant. In some cases, manage the Household/Estate operations and project-specific purchasing, payroll, insurance, etc. specific to those budgets as directed.

Family Office Administration

officeManThe Family Office, at the Principal’s direction, is responsible for interfacing with specific professionals including insurance, legal, CPA, architecture and design, human resources and building contractors. They might also oversee the detail associated with invoices; maintain the files and historical data necessary to protect the owners and their private/personal corporate entities. It is always essential to maintain confidentiality agreements to minimize Principal exposure. Vendors, Contracts and Resources Locate ethical and reputable commercial service providers within the immediate community, as well as for any remote locations or projects. Maintain highest standards of integrity, steering clear of the unethical “kickback” practices of some vendors.
Develop relationships with vendor owners and managers – communicate the Service Standards and behaviors necessary for the privilege of ongoing contracts with the Principal, Household or Estate. Maintain the records, relationships and protocols to ensure quality product delivery.

Staff Training & Management

Utilize the Technical Skills Qualifier™, the Personal Style Identifier™ and the other Service Management Tools of the System to achieve the necessary depth of clarity with the Principal and with staff to articulate the expected Service Standards, Service Styles, and individual and team productivity, expectations of conduct, requisite skill levels and pertinent behaviors. Create and deliver the expected atmosphere and Lifestyle throughout the household or Estate.

Service Relationships

Nurture the relationships and protocols in all areas to minimize Principal exposure, and to ensure quality service and product delivery. Whenever possible, cross-train to empower staff, control laborcosts and promote the lowest possible turnover.

Service Environment

Educate, develop, manage and nurture talented and committed teams of Private Service Staff, Vendors, and Resources to produce excellent delivery service in the interior and exterior physical Service Environments and Grounds and Property.

Charities and Community Interface

Represent the Principal, Family and Guest priorities within the local and extended community with discretion, gracious yet confidential behavior, intuitive and empathetic service to extended family, friends and neighbors, charitable institutions and professional service providers. Nowhere is the Private Service Manager’s Code of Ethics more important than here. Expect high standards of behavior in all Estate staff.

Safety and Protection Protocols

Complete understanding and support of the Safety and Protection Standards and Security Systems required by the Principal with respect to the Household, the Estate, Transportation and Travel, additional homes, security information, special Guests, and Events of the Principal and immediate Principal and Family.

Project Management

Communicate on behalf of the Principal regarding Design/Build operations: management of contractors, analysis of estimates, quality standards, research and recommendation of contractors and projects.

Core Professional Duties of the Household Manager

A Household Manager (occasionally called “Butler”) is responsible for daily operations of the interior environments and will pay attention to the many subtle details of the Administrative Standards in addition to recognizing and distinguishing specific Service Expectations.

Initial endeavors will include the following:
Immediate Tasks within the first days:

  • ƒƒ Development of a working Service Management Plan Blueprint
  • ƒƒ Supervision of Household Staff and Vendors
  • ƒƒ Preparation of weekly Day in the Life™ Schedules
  • ƒƒ Support or preparation of weekly menus and preparation of meals
  • ƒƒSupport of the Principal, Family and Guests in their daily routine
  • ƒƒInventorying of china, silver, crystal, art work, antiques and other collectibles
  • ƒƒInterfacing fully with Family Office, Accountants, Vendors and Resources

Additional Tasks within the first weeks:

  • Storing resource books, smart home technology information, warranty and maintenance information
  • Maintaining a Safety and Protection Management Plan for the residence and monitoring the security measuresƒOrganizing the pantry and developing weekly menus and grocery, paper products and other household goods ordering lists
  • ƒƒDeveloping entertaining schedules, ordering of service and wine cellar management procedureIf there is a Family Office or Estate Manager to pay bills and issue payroll checks, that person will have a list of vendors, budgets, insurance information and other resources. This is invaluable systems
    information for the Household Manager.

Most families have vendors they have worked with over the years that the House hold Manager will need to continue to work with.

A House hold Manager or Butlerwill scrutinizeand supervisethe level of service that each vendor is providing and what they are charging for the product or service they are delivering.

Words to the Wise for Staff:
Never attempt to change an existing Service
Delivery System until you have had a chance to learn what the System is, what the politics of the House holdor Service Environment are, and the reasons things have been done a certain way. Then, have frank conversations with your Principals and learn their perspectives and share what you have observed.

Core Professional Duties of the Personal Assistant

Emily Morrill_smThe Personal Assistant can often function as the Household or Estate Manager in “smaller” Service Environments where a Principal is the acting Household or Estate Manager and requires Personal Assistant support or as a fully integrated Personal Assistant for a highly recognized Celebrity, Public Personality, CEO or Retired Billionaire.

A Personal Assistant is primarily responsible for interfacing on behalf of the Principal with the Family as needed, their family office and Private Service Staff. The main goal is the support of the Principal’s Life Style Goals, Service Standards, Administrative Tasks, Entertaining, and Event Planning and Travel and Concierge needs.

  • Manage all Correspondence and the Household, Children’s and other Family members’ Personal Calendars
  • ƒƒInterface and Communicate for Principal with Household
  • Staff, Vendors, and Resources ƒƒMaintain Contact Databases
  • ƒƒResearch Specialty Products, Professionals, Vendors and Network Contacts
  • ƒƒManage budgets and bill paying
  • ƒƒSupport the Planning of all Entertaining and Charity Events
  • ƒƒManage Invitations and RSVPs
  • ƒƒAttend Board Meetings and provide Meeting Minutes
  • ƒƒManage International and Domestic Itineraries, Reservations,
  • Transportation, and Travel
  • ƒƒWork with their Principal’s Charities and Non-Profit commitments

Written by: Mary Louise Starkey
“First Lady of Service”
Excerpts from the Original Guide for Household Management 2007

Contact us at
Telephone 720-788-3398 or 303-832-5510

Let’s Talk Housekeeping

housekeeping1In 1981, I was a young single mother of two active sons. A few years earlier, I completed a degree in Community Services Development with a minor in Writing. In those days, what I had to offer was in demand. However, every time I submitted my resume for a position in my field, I walked away from the interview knowing that there was something else I was to do. I was at a crossroads in my life without direction. Money began to run short. I was forced to find something to pay my bills. One of my friends suggested that I go with her to her husband’s small construction work site. He was paying people $50 per hour to take plaster and other debris off of newly installed windows. The work was hard, but I liked it and was desperate to do something.


Inspired, I decided to see what other cleaning or housekeeping work I could find to keep me going. I put an ad in our local paper, and within two weeks was earning enough to make me take a second look at what I had uncovered. I charged twice as much as anyone typically paid. Clients did not mind as I was not the typical domestic arriving at their door. Within days, I had people answering my ad who wanted me to find them housekeeping work. Surprisingly, I also learned that some callers were seeking girls for less than desirable work. The code was always, “I understand you cook”! I grew wise in my choice of words, and made it clear that only housekeeping was for sale. I interviewed multiple potential housekeepers to work with me at “Starkey and Associates, Inc.” Most people who answered my call for more qualified housekeepers were 60 plus years old, had been housekeeping for 25 years, and were tired. I had a different sort of person in mind. I was looking for “Quick, bright, educated professionals, who had good self-esteem, were trained in housekeeping, and saw themselves as professionals. These people were few and far between. There was a great deal of work to do in this industry, and I felt I was the person to do it.


housekeeping1Homes we served were typically 1 to 3,000 square feet, with average standards. Clients appreciated our coming every week at the same time, and completing the cleaning basics. My associates expected to stay from 3-6 hours depending upon the contracted agreement, and used their cleaning supplies. The model quickly became very popular. Within one year, I had 30 women working with me, serving over 300 clients.


One day, a client contracted for only her kitchen to be cleaned, and allotted 6 hours. It was beyond dirty! My scheduled associate woke up with a terrible cold, so I did the cleaning myself. At the end of the 6 hours, you could eat off the floor. I had cleaned out the pantry of all foods older than 2 years, scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees, and cleaned the stove until it shined. The client arrived home, fired me and refused to pay. Her idea of clean and mine were not the same. She was a hoarder and I had disrupted her world. It was another lesson learned.


Today’s housekeeping world is not much different. The average rate per hour is higher at $25, but the way people enter the housekeeping world is not.


I learned that housekeeping for each HNW employer is different. They typically follow what their Moms taught them. Cleaning for each client is unique, and it is the housekeeper’s task to learn each vision.


housekeeping2I began to develop ways of asking how they wanted tasks performed, and end results. I also learned which clients did not know what they wanted, and they were the ones who were much more difficult to please. Most importantly, I learned that of the close to 500 different homes I had visited, not one client wanted their home cleaned in the same way! I learned I needed to teach them process and procedures. Household Managers must do this to teach priorities and expectations. If this is not done, Housekeepers in today’s world think robotically and clean the same rooms daily, whether it is needed or not! They also have no knowledge of the care of fine collectibles, often ruining works of art worth millions.


It all taught me about the required business and accounting principles and insurance necessary to protect me, how to lead and manage people, time management, and about employees’ motives in serving others. It taught me about clients, and those I choose to serve. I learned that as a Housekeeping Baseline, it takes 4 hours to clean 2,000 square feet if cleaned on a weekly basis with average cleaning standards. It all prepared me for what was to come.


These simple changes in my growing business model made us very popular for our high quality of work. My parents were embarrassed that I was, in their mind, a cleaning lady, but I didn’t care because I was making very good money and learning how I loved to make a difference. I also learned that I personally loved cleaning. It felt healing to me. Maybe as I cleaned for others, I was also cleansing my inner soul. Starkey and Associates, Inc., my housekeeping company, lasted over 17 years, until I had eventually grown my abilities and company to what it is today: Starkey International Institute for Household Management, Inc. Starkey trains Professional Housekeepers about etiquette, surfaces, products, rotational needs and timing directly in homes and we’re experts at it! I found my path in life; it has been indeed a gifted journey. -Mary Louise Starkey

Administrative Standards For Private Service

Starkey International - Administrative Standards For Private Service

Administrative Standards for Private Service require a unique blend of knowing how your employer thinks, and their individual priorities. The wealthy matriarchs of our past taught their daughters how to set up household structures. Today’s world is much more challenging with new money having little knowledge about household employees, procedures, and understanding the required need for knowing what they want, and a specific structure for staff to meet those expectations.

There is a lack of trained professionals who understand how to set up service structures, household boundaries, fine housekeeping, private cooking and more. It’s just not the same!

Administrative Standards typically include:ƒ

  • A sophisticated language and knowledge of service and how to customize and develop a written Service Management Plan.
  • Experienced in Human Resources, payroll, QuickBooks, hiring practices, privacy agreements and security awareness specifically for the household industry.


Starkey International - Administrative Standards For Private Service

The days of only needing the service of a Butler or Housekeeper to provide table service, answer the door, and accomplish fine housekeeping are over. Administrative tasks always begin with learning the Service Vision and expectations of the Principals. The Household Service Plan can only then begin to be written and developed. Day in the Life outlines from the managers pre-plan their upcoming week and provide an excellent communication tool between the Principal and their Household or Estate Manager. Standards in ten primary categories include:

  • Administrative
  • Housekeeping
  • Culinary
  • Clothing
  • Entertaining
  • Property and Grounds
  • Maintenance
  • Transportation and Travel
  • Safety and Protection
  • Personal Care

Starkey has found that these categories of Standards are active in all service environments and must be identified. Private Chefs should develop weekly menus to organize food purchasing and entertaining. Starkey developed and patented its Service Management System over 15 years ago that accomplishes the identification of these tasks.

Starkey has learned that unless this information is quickly gathered from the Principals, the home or estate will soon begin to feel like what staff would prefer in their own homes. Administrative Standards also include setting up the home or estate to support household staff. Starkey calls this the “Service Flow” within a home and outlines the needs of your household staff in great detail. Imagine showing up to a Household Management position and learning that no one has considered that they might need office space and essentials to accomplish the above tasks.

Private homes and estates are supervised and run cooperatively by the family, the Family Office, and the private service managers. Private Homes are much like a small office with several persons wearing more than one hat and accomplishing many tasks. This is why position descriptions, Day in the Life duties, Zoning and Task Sheets, excellent communication practices and the identified Service Standards all come into play and are all written for clarity.

Administrative Standards vary from home to home, but as additional homes and properties are purchased, expanded or remodeled, each must be run in accordance with the family’s service expectations. Starkey Graduates are positioned to last many years with their Principals as new children are born, go off to college, and as Principals eventually downsize their holdings to experience new lifestyles. In addition, family foundations are formed that support the community, and when special projects are identified to be accomplished, administrative tasks become essential to the overall well-run home or estate.

  • ƒBasic accounting procedures and what is expected from the Private Service Staff pertaining to household finances.
  • Care of collectibles, insurance coverage, and required comprehensive inventory.
  • Genuine people management skills with proven communication and leadership skills.
  • ƒOverall concierge services, commercial and private travel, and the development of lifestyle resources for the family.
  • Working with family offices, non-profits and foundations
  • Excellent abilities with a variety of today’s technology including calendars, Microsoft Office, smart home technology, security systems and more.

With children and pets underfoot, it may be difficult to maintain safety. Starkey often looks at the location and size of laundry rooms for accomplishing ironing, folding, and laundering clothing. If the bedrooms are on the 3rd floor, and the laundry room is in the basement or very small, it will not support this laundress in feeling good about her work or accomplishing her required tasks.

Finally, we would like to emphasize that all businesses, including Household Management, must have three elements of planning to be successful.

  1. It must begin with an overall Service Vision that identifies priorities and service expectations.
  2. It must have a unique Service Management language to speak clearly and communicate what is needed.
  3. All Certified Household and Estate Managers must have use of management tools specific to Household Management to communicate to a Principal in one page reports, how they will develop and manage their service plan including the number of required staff, their abilities, work schedules, and the Service Standards they will be delivering. This is the administrative work and ongoing planning required to succeed in today’s world of a Certified Household or Estate Manager. It takes great professional discipline to work consistently on another’s agenda, and is the true artistry of Private Service.

Mary Louise Starkey
First Lady of Service
Starkey International Institute, Inc.