Being a Good Employer
Table of Contents
- Getting Started
- Supervising Your Staff
- Training Your Staff
Now that you have hired staff to support your family member you have become an employer. Here are some tips to help you in this role.
On your employee's first day of work, ask them to fill out a basic Employee Information Form so that you have information you need for payroll and know who to contact in case of an emergency. Here are some examples of the information to include on your form:
Need an Employee Information Form?
- Full legal name
- Home address
- Phone number (home and cell)
- Email address
- Social Insurance Number
- Emergency contact information
Your employee will provide some of this information when they fill in the forms for the federal (TD1) and provincial (TD1AB) Personal Tax Credits Return. Links to tax forms are provided in the Resources section of this handbook.
On the first day, it is also a good idea to review the job duties with your staff, and put in writing the types of support your staff is responsible for, and how you expect the support to be provided.
In addition, it is helpful to make sure both you and your staff have a clear understanding about things like:
- Hours of work
- Pay schedule
- Notifying you about absences
- Sick time
- Probationary period
- Staff evaluation
An employment agreement is one way to make sure your staff is aware of their duties and your expectations.
What does an employment agreement look like?
In your role as an employer you will need to be aware of employment standards. Some sources of information on employment standards are listed in the Resources section of this handbook.
It is important to make sure that your staff understands the issue of confidentiality.
Your staff will get to know about the personal lives of your family member and their extended family. Discuss with staff how you expect them to handle this personal information.
One way to emphasize the importance of this issue is to ask your staff to sign an oath of confidentiality.
Where can I find an oath of confidentiality?
Supervising Your Staff
Good supervision can prevent or minimize difficulties and help your family member to make progress towards the goals in their Individual Service Agreement.
Although supervising staff in your home is different from supervising staff in a regular workplace, it is still important to make sure that your staff is providing good quality supports to your family member.
Supervision can occur in several ways as follows:
You can monitor your staff informally by simply observing the way they connect with your family member and provide support. As you observe, consider the following:
- Are the staff capable and pleasant while working with your family member? Do they fit well into your home situation?
- How does your family member feel about the staff? Is she or he happy with the arrangement?
- Are staff supporting your family member in the ways you asked them to?
- Are staff providing all of the required supports?
- Are staff providing supports at the scheduled times?
- Do you see signs that your family member is making progress towards the goals in their Individual Service Agreement?
Give Ongoing Feedback
You can also supervise more formally by scheduling regular meetings or conversations with your staff to talk about how things are going and provide feedback. The conversations could also include discussions about the things you monitor informally.
It is helpful to sit down with your staff periodically (e.g. every 3 months) to talk about their performance and hear their feedback and suggestions. To guide your conversation about performance, you could use an evaluation form. Your evaluation form should include the duties and responsibilities that are written in the job description.
Need some help deciding what to talk about during a staff evaluation?
Recognize Your Staff
When your staff does things the way you want them done, let them know. It is important to acknowledge good performance as soon as possible. This doesn't have to cost anything - a simple thank you goes a long way.
Training Your Staff
Good training will help your staff to provide quality support to your family member. All staff will need at least some informal training from you. Even if they have done the same kind of work for someone else, they need to be trained to provide supports in the way you would like supports to be provided.
It is important that you provide staff with information to help them properly support your family member.
Here are some examples of information about your family member that you may wish to discuss with your staff:
- Emergency information:
- List of medications and how/when to administer them
- Doctor, dentist, psychiatrist - names and phone numbers
- Alberta Health Care Number
- Any concerns with his/her general health
- Any special equipment or therapy needed
- Information about how he/she communicates
- A description of his/her interests
- Any particular behaviors that staff should be aware of
- Any relevant information about personal grooming, transportation and/or personal spending
- Any relevant information about volunteer or work placements and other programs he/she participates in
Formal training may be helpful when your staff need or ask for training that you cannot provide.
Where can my staff get formal training?
Personal Tax Credit Forms (TD1 and TD1AB)
You can find forms for the federal (TD1) and Alberta (TD1AB) Personal Tax Credits Return at this Canada Revenue Agency website: www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/frms/td1-eng.html. The information collected on these forms is used to determine the amount of tax deductions for your employee(s).
Employment Standards Information
- Employment Standards - main page: www.employment.alberta.ca/SFW/1224.html
- Employment Standards - Fact Sheets: www.employment.alberta.ca/SFW/999.html. The Fact Sheets provide basic information on these and other topics:
- Deductions from Earnings
- Domestic Employment
- General Holidays and General Holiday Pay
- Hours of Work, Rest Periods and Days of Rest
- Maternity Leave and Parental Leave
- Minimum Wage
- Overtime Hours and Overtime Pay
- Payment of Earnings
- Termination of Employment and Temporary Layoff
- Vacations and Vacation Pay
- Government of Alberta, Human Services, Employment Standards Contact Centre: 1-877-427-3731 (toll free) or 780-427-3731 (Edmonton area)
Areas to Consider In Your Staff Evaluation
Your staff evaluation should include the duties and responsibilities written in the staff job description. Here are some general areas you may also wish to consider for your staff evaluation.
How well does your staff support your family member?
- works towards achieving the goals that were set for your family member
- alert in health and safety matters
Is your staff dependable?
- arrives on time
- reliable in attendance
- gives adequate notice for absences
- follows through on commitments
How does your staff work with the family/Funds Administrator?
- follows instructions
- accepts constructive criticism
- actively listens and asks questions for clarity
- takes responsibility
- maintains confidentiality
What are their areas of strength?
Are there any areas for improvement?
Ideas for Formal Training
- Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS) - ACDS offers a Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program which is designed for direct service workers who provide community support for people with disabilities. The program is offered in the classroom and online. www.acds.ca
- Grant MacEwan University offers a diploma in Disability Studies: Leadership and Community. Courses can be taken part-time through online distance learning. www.macewan.ca/wcm/SchoolsFaculties/HCS/Programs/DisabilityStudies/index.htm
- Families can approach service providers in their community to see if they are willing to train the family's FMS staff through courses offered in their organization.
- Supporting Individuals through Valued Attachments (SIVA) www.sivatraining.ca
- First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training - CPR training is offered by several organizations including Red Cross and St. John Ambulance.
- Medication administration - your pharmacist may provide information on how to properly administer medications.
- Transferring and lifting
- Behavioral management
- Restrictive procedures
- Nonviolent crisis intervention www.crisisprevention.com
- Abuse Prevention and Response Protocol
Here are some other sources of information that may be useful:
- HealthLink Alberta - can give you information on where to find a public health nurse in your community.
Calgary: 403-943-5465 or
Please note: the following documents and forms are samples only; you are not required to use them. Please feel free to change the samples or make up your own documents to fit your needs.
All samples are in MS-Word format.
- Sample Employee Information Form
- Sample Time Sheet
- Sample Basic Employment Agreement
- Sample Service Agreement
- Sample Oath of Confidentiality
We Welcome Your Feedback...