Domestic Definition - Employment Standards Act - Interpretation Guidelines Manual - Employment Standards


ESA Section 1 – Definitions – Domestic


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section contains definitions for terms used throughout the Employment Standards Act and its Regulation.

Text of Legislation

"domestic" means a person who

(a) is employed at an employer's private residence to provide cooking, cleaning, child care or other prescribed services, and

(b) resides at the employer's private residence;

Policy Interpretation

A domestic is a person whose employment duties include domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, or child care for the employer. Domestics live in the private residence of their employers.

Under s.14 of the Act, an employer of a domestic is required to provide an employment contract setting out the conditions of employment, including the duties to be performed. An employer may not charge a domestic more than the monthly rate for room and board specified in s.14 of the Employment Standards Regulation.

A domestic must also be registered in accordance with s.15 of the Act and s.13 of the Employment Standards Regulation.

The term "domestic" is not commonly used in the workplace and often employees in this category are referred to as domestic workers, care givers, nannies, or au pairs.

A “domestic” is entitled to all the protections of the Employment Standards Act.


Jill employs Mary to cook, clean and care for three small children while she is at work. Mary arrives at 8:00 am and leaves at 5:00 pm each day upon the mother’s return from work.

Mary is not a domestic because she does not live at her employer’s residence.

Under the Employment Standards Act and Regulation, there are several different categories of employees who provide care and home services and these other types of employees should not be confused with a “domestic”. They include:

  • live-in home support worker
  • night attendant
  • residential care worker
  • sitter

(For definitions, refer to Section 1 in the Employment Standards Regulation)

Related Information

Related sections of the Act or Regulation



Other references

See Information for Domestic Workers and their Employers