Everything You Need to Know

We know the stress and uncertainty created by complicated tax and labor laws.
The information here will clear up the confusion.

Expert Advice

Traveling with Your Household Employee

Many families want or need to have help while on vacation. When travelling with an employee, federal law requires the employer to compensate the employee for all hours worked during the trip, including time spent traveling. The employee’s travel expenses, such as airfare, lodging and meals, are not taxable income to the employee; they are expenses the family incurs to have their employee on-the-job when they travel.

Hours worked when traveling are treated no differently than when working in the family’s home. The employee must be compensated for all hours she is on-the-job, and if the working time exceeds 40 hours in a 7-day period the family is required to pay overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the regular wage. While the family must pay their employee for working time, they are not required to compensate her for her non-working time (i.e. free time completely on her own, sleeping time, etc.). Because it’s vacation, there is often a question about what should be considered “working time.” The rule of thumb is fairly simple: if the employee is performing duties, it’s considered “working time” – even if the work is being performed in a beautiful beach, mountain or resort setting.

Dealing with the Unique Challenges of a Vacation Schedule

Having worked for many years with families who travel with their employee, we’d like to share a best-practice suggestion: Because the work schedule during travel is often very different than the normal home schedule, problems can arise if you don’t have an equitable way to compensate for the changed number of hours. So if your employee is on a fixed salary, consider converting the salary into an hourly rate and then having a discussion about compensation before the trip. This will ensure fair pay for hours worked and prevent a situation where one of the parties feels cheated and resentful.

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