Caregiving: How To Lose Everything By “Saving Money” (Part 7)

A Cautionary Tale, Based On A True Story

Tom and Helen Conway had a live-in housekeeper named Greta, who met a labor lawyer who talked Greta into suing them for unpaid wages and other damages in excess of $1 million. They hired a specialist labor law defense attorney, who told them, “You need to prepare for a long and very difficult time. I will give you all the advice that I can, and I will do my best to help you arrange your affairs to shelter your assets as much as possible.”

“However”, she continued, “after that, you should begin preparing financially and emotionally to experience a significant financial cost from this. I’m sorry, but there’s just no sugar-coating this…

This is the next installment a story that I wrote for, published in installments, about what can go wrong for you and your family when you hire caregivers privately (or through non-employer “referral agencies” or “registries”), if you do not know and follow the various state and Federal labor laws and tax withholding and reporting laws.

Many people don’t know that when they are “household employers” they are responsible for following virtually all the laws that apply to commercial employers.  Those laws include wage and hour laws, minimum wage laws, overtime pay laws, payroll tax withholding laws and more.  The only people who win in this highly-sensitized atmosphere are the tax-hungry government bureaucrats who want their tax money, penalties and interest, and the trial lawyers who sue families for huge back pay claims.

Think this all sounds far-fetched?  Read and see for yourself:  Caregiving: How To Lose Everything By “Saving Money”, published at



Photo by Horia Varlan

Tim Colling
Tim Colling

Tim Colling is the founder and President of A Servant's Heart In-Home Care, which provided in-home caregiving services in San Diego County, and also of A Servant's Heart Geriatric Care Management, which provided
professional geriatric care management services and long term care placement services in San Diego County. Tim has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries. He held a Certified Care Manager credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Tim is also a Certified Public Accountant (retired), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. In addition to writing blog posts here for the Servant’s Heart blog, Tim also is a regular contributor to and to as well as blogs of other eldercare services provider companies. Finally, Tim is also the president of A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing, which provides home care marketing as well as website design and online marketing for those who serve the elderly and their families.

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