Hiring domestic workers

A domestic worker works in a private home. They provide services like child care, cooking and cleaning. If you hire a domestic worker, you become an employer.

On this page:

Register a domestic worker

Employers must register domestic workers with the Employment Standards Branch within 30 days of hiring them. Live-in home support workersnight attendantsresidential care workers and sitters don’t count as domestic workers.

Submit your application

An employer can hire a domestic worker directly or through a licensed employment agency or licensed foreign worker recruiter.

Hiring a foreign worker

If you hire a foreign worker, you need to follow the rules.

Employers must register with the provincial government if they intend to hire foreign workers through the following federal programs:

​Hiring a temporary foreign worker without a certificate of registration is against the law in B.C.

Employers that use a recruiter to hire a foreign worker must make sure the recruiter is licensed.

Room and board

Employers can charge domestic workers up to $325 per month for room and board, if allowed by federal requirements. The employee must agree in writing before any deductions can be taken from their pay.

If you provide accommodation to a domestic worker, you may become a landlord. Make sure you understand and follow B.C.'s residential tenancy laws.

Employment contracts must be in writing

Both the employer and the domestic worker must sign an employment contract.

The contract must include the domestic worker's

  • Work duties
  • Hours of work
  • Wage and payment schedule
  • Charges for room and board, if allowed

You don't need to give a copy of this contract to the Employment Standards Branch.

After work begins

If you hire a domestic worker, you must follow all B.C. employment standards. If you don't, the Employment Standards Branch can investigate and fine you up to $10,000.

You also need to

Hours of work

Employers create schedules for employees based on the standards for hours of work.

If a domestic worker is asked to work outside their normal schedule, their employer must pay for that time.

Annual vacation

Employers can choose when domestic workers take their annual vacation.

If the domestic worker goes on a trip with the employer or works at home while the employer is away, it doesn't count as vacation. Employers must pay domestic workers for any time worked while on vacation.

Keeping current records

Employers must notify the Employment Standards Branch by email at EmploymentStandards@esb.gov.bc.ca if

  • Their contact information changes
  • A domestic worker's phone number changes
  • They no longer employ a domestic worker

What you can do

If your employer isn't treating you right, see which government agencies can help.

Human trafficking 

Human trafficking is when a person

  • Is forced to work or provide services they do not want to do
  • Works for little or no pay under poor conditions
  • No longer has access to their passport or identification
  • Has restrictions on where they can go and what they can do

Human trafficking is a crime. Report it right away.

Solve issues at work

If you're having issues at work, find out what you can do