Absolute nonnegotiable rules

Most families have certain rules that take precedence above all others. Any violation of these absolute rules would probably cause irreparable damage to the family/caregiver relationship. In fact, the family might decide a violation of these rules is cause to dismiss the caregiver.

Such absolute rules typically pertain to unauthorized use of the family's property, lying, and excessive tardiness or time off from work.

It's very important that you make it absolutely clear to the caregiver what you will not tolerate. You'll feel better for having set the rules and for explaining to your caregiver where you stand. She'll appreciate knowing what's expected of her.

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• Know your legal responsibilities as an employer.

• Prepare house rules.

• Sign a written work agreement.

• Plan to spend some time helping your caregiver get started.

• Schedule regular performance reviews.

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