Definition: Domestic Staff Household Positions



Green Baize Door Blog: Posted 13th July 2021

There are many positions within the domestic staff household. We have listed the most common job titles, and included the associated duties to make it easier to understand the differences between job-titles and responsibilities. 

Au Pair: a person who exchanges domestic service for room and board: usually in a foreign country in order to learn a new language or learn about another country’s culture

Babysitter: a person employed to care for one or more children, usually on an as-needed basis.

Butler: the head servant of a formal household; manages all aspects of domestic service to employers and their guests; trains and directs household staff.

Carer: a person hired to look after one or more children or adults, including those with a disability or illness.

Chauffeur (driver): a person employed to drive family members and their guests to appointed destinations; keeps employer's vehicles clean, maintained and serviced.

Chef: a person trained in the art of food preparation and cooking, possibly holding qualifications and/or experience (sometimes from a commercial background). This person will be expected to cook to a high standard, preparing food for family, guests, in some case other staff members, along with organising purchasing of supplies and cleaning the kitchen.

Cook: employed to prepare food for family, guests, and, in some cases staff members; assists with supplies and cleaning – often self taught – ‘Cook’ often refers to a staff member employed in a rural environment.

Couple: two people, often married, who are hired to perform two different roles in a household: "domestic" couples often combine housekeeper with handyman/gardener, or butler and housekeeper duties.

Estate(s) manager: employed to oversee the operations of an estate, sometimes including secondary properties; organises the household staff(s); management of estate financial affairs and security arrangements. Depending on the property, this role may require knowledge of agricultural, Equestrian or farming matters

Footman: a male servant charged with attending doors, waiting on tables and running errands.

Gardener: The person responsible for the upkeep of the gardens and grounds, including potted plants and the care of interior house plants – sometimes looking after pool maintenance too

Gentleman's gentleman: a male servant charged with directly attending to the daily needs of his employer; accompanying his employer abroad while traveling

Governess: a female servant responsible for the education and guidance of children in a private home, apart from the classics, lessons will often including instruction on proper etiquette and common sense.

Household Manager: a person employed to manage the daily affairs of a private residence; supervising household staff; coordinating contractors, caterers and other visitors.

Housekeeper: a person employed to clean and maintain the home.

Houseman: a man employed to maintain a private residence; helping with service, running errands, making repairs and assisting with "heavy" housekeeping duties (such as moving and cleaning rugs, drapery, high-cleaning, moving furniture to clean behind/under etc.).

Maid: a servant frequently described as a woman who cleans a home on a regular basis.

Major Domo: the chief servant in a large household or palace; directing all domestic services.

Mother's help: a person employed to provide childcare and household assistance to a parent who is not working outside the home.

Nanny: a person employed to care for one or more children in a family home.

New Born Nurse : a person employed specifically to care for a new born infant – perhaps for the first six months.

 Nursemaid: a woman employed to care for young children.

Personal assistant: a person employed to manage the private daily affairs of another; schedules appointments, arranges travel, plans events, shops for gifts, and runs errands.

Personal Protection Officer (PPO): a person employed to provide protection to an individual and his/her family, either working alone or as part of a security team; functions as a driver or chaperone or works exclusively at a residential location.

Poolman: responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of swimming pools, fountains, ornamental canals and water features – often now a contracted service.

Tutor: a person hired to educate or guide another, often in a specialised subject or area.

Valet (pronounced ‘Va-Lay’): a male servant charged with the care and organisation of his employer's belongings, particularly his wardrobe.



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