At Home Nursing Care warns consumers what some “registries” are hiding – Caregivers are never independent contractors.

Having employees in California is a challenge.  There are ever changing rules, lots of documentation that must be done, income that must be reported, taxes that must be withheld, insurance that must be provided. The list goes on and on.  At Home Nursing Care complies with all of those regulations, and more.

Others do not.  To avoid the employment liability and cost, many families are told by registries, (firms which simply screen caregivers and introduce them to a family for work in a home), that the caregivers are “independent contractors” and so insurance and payroll issues are the responsibility of the caregiver, not the elderly client.   According to California state regulators, that is never true.   Yet registries continue to make that assertion to families who believe they can save a couple of dollars per hour by using a registry to find care for mom or dad.

(At Home Nursing Care is not a registry, it’s a full service agency which employs all of its employees, reports all wages, provides proper withholding of payroll taxes and complies with all worker’s compensation and general liability insurance standards. Our caregivers are always our employees.)

“The caregiver working in a domestic setting is always an employee, either of the family or of the registry,” said Lynn Prettyman.  She works for the California Employment Development Department, or EDD.  It’s the agency that regulates employers and levies fines for non-compliance with labor laws.


She says many audits are triggered when a worker, such as a caregiver, files for unemployment and the state realizes no wages were reported and no unemployment insurance was withheld.  Or a caregiver may fall in the elderly client’s home, become injured and will seek worker’s compensation coverage that was never purchased.  The state then investigates who the employer was and levies fines to pay for the unemployment or worker’s comp insurance.

Prettyman says once an employee earns $1000 in a quarter, a three month period, then the wages for that worker must be reported to the state and unemployment insurance and payroll taxes must be paid.  Additionally, California says even an individual with only one employee must provide worker’s compensation insurance.  Not having worker’s compensation insurance can lead to a $10,000 fine or more.

In addition, referral agencies cannot train the employees at all, and they cannot supervise them or direct how the client is to be cared for.   All they can do is run a background check.

If the referral agency is audited, then the state has the open of auditing each client who hired a caregiver from that registry. 

Asked if the state actually goes after elderly people who hired what they thought were independent contractors, Prettyman answered simply “yes.”

Families considering hiring a caregiver through registries need to “watch their step” and make sure they are well informed that short term savings could lead to longer term liabilities.


If you or someone you love needs quality inHome Care in Los Angeles or San Diego, whether it’s a caregiver to help with activities of daily living or a registered nurse to provide medication management, give At Home Nursing Care a call at 760-634-8000.  Rest assured that our employees are screened, trained and supervised.  Plus we handle all state requirements in order for our clients to worry about only one thing:  getting better and staying independent.