Welcome, That is a great question.
To start, it is great that you and your partner have been in business for 12 years (so far).
My first question to you Do you have a WRITTEN PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT??
The next question is WHY does your partner want his wife to help out??
General questions. Do you have an accountant??
Does she need the income for retirement purposes??
Can you be compensated (like MORE time off) to balance her income??
Would you be willing to go to Arbitration to settle this??
Let us know, LUCKIEST
If the business needs an administrative assistant, it doesn't really matter if the money goes to his wife or a new hire that is unrelated to either of you; it is still a cost to the business. I also don't understand the issue of the books and accounts; if the administrative assistant would normally have access to that information, then it wouldn't matter if she did as well. If the concern is that she already has access, and that's something you normally would not want an administrative assistant to have, then it is an issue. If she is going to be talking to vendors or customers, having "too much information" can be a bad thing.
But I would be more concerned that my partner is choosing my administrative assistant. Working closely with someone is more like a marraige than a friendship, and as a partner you should be choosing who is working as your assistant. Furthermore, as someone who had to fire his sister many years ago, I can foresee huge problems if she doesn't work out and you want to let her go. It could risk the 12 year partnership (firing your sister, by the way, results in two very awkward Christmases until she starts earning more than you).
Good replieis. I hadn't considered those particular angles. Let's hear more!
Usually hiring family members complicates things.
Secondly, from your partner's point of view, if all his family income comes from the same source, all their eggs are coming from the same basket. It would be better to diversify in case something went wrong with your business.
Thirdly, did anyone ask her? Maybe she's only doing this to make it easy or please her husband. She might be better served by finding a job that proves her ability to get a job, to do something she really would much rather do, or maybe get a higher paying job. Maybe she doesn't want to work with her husband. Seeing someone all day and all night can really strain a marriage.
Also, if the point is to move the business along by having a very effective assistant who is talented, accomplished, she might not be the best hire.
Here's a different suggestion. Draw up a job description with a list of the tasks, responsibilities, expereince needed, job requirements, etc. then advertise the job. Have her submit a resume along with the others that apply. Then with your partner objectivley look at the resumes, interview the best candidates, invest in some behavioral hiring assessments and select the person who will do the job the best. If it's her, then re-ask the questions about a family member working in the business. If it's not her, help your friend find a job for his wife that's in line with her skills and interests.
This was such great advice! Nearly exactly what I wanted to mention.
I think if the wife can in fact be a good match for the job, fill the requirements and job description, while being skillful, she could end up being a beneficial employee to your business! Because you've been partnered with him for so long, there must be some trust there. If it were my decision, I would go about it in a very professional way, not as if she just gets the job because of her marriage to your partner, that would almost be like cronyism. I would prefer to have someone I could trust and have more of an acquaintence with working as my administrative assistant. Yet, you do mention that your personalities don't mesh, which is just a huge negative in a business.
In the end, I think she deserves the opportunity.
I think you have two questions to ask yourself:
Why does he want her to work there?
Will she do a good job?
If he wants her there because he thinks she'll be useful you should trust your partner, but maybe talk to him and his wife about a trial run or something?
After 12 years in business my partner (we own equal shares) wants to hire his wife as an administrative assistant. She would help me keep the books and do other minor administrative work. She has not had a job in 20 years, other than substitute teaching and doing floral design out of her home. While she is a pleasant person, her personality does not fit with mine at all. Is it fair that my partner would be sending more money from the firm back to his household in the form of her paycheck? Should I be concerned about her access to the books and accounts? I know my partner is an honest person, but any advice is greatly appreciated!