Domestic Help

      The reddish font is a warning: it is now a felony to not pay “Social Security” taxes on domestic labor pay. Late last year the law changed and is being enforced. Household help, including maids, must be given benefits required by law.
      Like in last year’s great  movie, “The Help,” domestics are entitled to retirement and health insurance benefits provided by the government from payroll taxes. Now, who wants to be on the wrong side of that? Jail time and heavy fines are a possibility.
      So, to stay out of trouble, have a labor attorney draw up an employment agreement and pay the modest payroll taxes.
      Do not interpret Cuencano friendliness for more than it is.
      A friend learned the hard way. The very friendly maid went to a labor attorney after they declined to play the game of “another gringo will pay me twice what you are.”  That was a shock after months of gringo gifts and generosity.  A simple severance agreement was quickly drawn up and half a month’s pay was given as severance.
     The rule of vesting is that on the 15th visit to work in your home, the maid is considered your employee. This applies even she only works 3 or 4 hours a visit. Even visits for family events or holidays (when no work is done) may be considered a labor visit.  And “why didn’t you pay me for coming to your birthday party?”
      There’s a moral to the story then:  Have a contract paying a fair wage (not excessive so as to impact other employers), then be generous as you desire, outside the contract.
      We are still learning their way of thinking!

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