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Risks of Hiring a Caregiver Privately

  • Missouri law provides for certain rights to employees who are injured at work. Agencies carry Workers Compensation Insurance on all of their employees that cover any liability of injury or lost wages incurred by employees who may be injured on the job. Caregiving can be back- breaking work resulting in pulled muscles, damaged shoulder ligaments from lifting, slip and fall injuries and hard to diagnose back injuries. Most caregivers are well-versed in their rights should they get hurt while caring for a patient. Families who hire a private caregiver off the internet often find themselves exposed to civil lawsuits brought by employees who are injured during work. The ugly underbelly of worker compensation claims and civil lawsuits is that in many cases it cannot be determined whether the injury (i.e. back pain, shoulder pain, etc.) actually took place while the caregiver was working. Injury liability and lost wage liability is a huge factor to weigh when deciding whether to use a home care agency or hire privately.
  • Overtime law – Federal law requires employees be paid overtime for any hours over 40 hours per week unless they are a salaried employee earning at least $47,476 per year. Ignoring this law opens families up to civil lawsuits for unpaid overtime wages. Hiring an agency with huge resources ensures that you have access to multiple high quality caregivers which will prevent those overtime hours.
  • Tax Withholding – Unfortunately, many caregivers accept some government assistance such as health insurance subsidies, food stamps, etc. If a private caregiver is collecting unreported ‘cash under the table’ AND accepting government benefits, they can be charged with fraud. Many government agencies have an annual certification process that can create an audit liability for both the caregiver and employer.
  • Missouri law requires employers to withhold the employee’s taxes AND match the employer’s portion of tax contributions. State law also requires employers to pay into the state unemployment fund. Federal law states that employees are to be given payroll stubs of withholdings and time off in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • In bringing this closer to home, recently we interviewed a caregiver that had years of caregiving experience and great references. Through our extensive background checks conducted across a number of state AND national systems, it was discovered that this caregiver had multiple fraud, arson and felony charges in various states. These are things that will not show up on a simple search in Missouri Case Net. Unfortunately, those patients or family members in search of a caregiver can become vulnerable to individuals posing as a caregiver but whose purpose is to steal medication, cash, jewelry and other valuables from them. A certified home care agency offers the protection needed to keep you and your loved ones safe from harm.