Support, Resources, and Tidbits of Information for Nannies
FINDING A JOB:
Can I post to Park Slope Parents about my availability?
No. We only allow employers to post about nannies with whom they have worked.
My current/past employer is a member and wants to post on Park Slope Parents on my behalf. How can I help make that happen?
Posting to the PSP group has requirements which have changed over the past few years. Please have your PSP member employer read Helping Your Nanny Find a NEW Job as well as How To Post For your Nanny on PSP that links to the requirements. You might help by providing exact work start date as well as your future availability. Your employer must be a Brooklyn resident to become a member of Park Slope Parents.
I need a job-- where CAN I post my availability?
There are many places you can post your availability although we do not have explicit experience with these other websites. Below are places PSP members have used to hire and post for babysitters.
What else can I do?
- Post your availability on bulletin boards in coffee shops, pediatrician offices (remember to ask permission)
- Talk to your nanny friends and ask them to tell their employers that you're looking for a job
- If you work in a building or know other moms, tell them about your availability and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for jobs
NOTE: Park Slope is a diverse community comprised of many families. Some families seeking nannies on this group may have values or domestic habits that are different from your own such as having orthodox religious views, special diets (such as being vegan/vegetarian or keeping kosher) or special medical needs. Park Slope is home to blended or adoptive families, LGBTQ parents, international familes, and single parents to name just a few. Please take a moment to consider whether you can work for a family whose values may be different than your own. Always use tact and be respectful when speaking with prospective employers.
RESOURCES ABOUT WORKER'S RIGHTS:
If you are looking for a job by all means look through the over 125 pages of information we have about Hiring a Nanny. Understand the process we advise employers to work through, know the types of questions that will be asked of you, and be prepared with a resume or application.
HELP your employer help you the best way possible: by being your advocate. You are much more likely to get a job through recommendations provided by past and current employers than going it alone. Review our Helping Your Nanny Find a NEW Job page; print it out for them to save them time.
An older document, the "Rights Begin at Home" also has a bunch of information and a good FAQ for common issues faced by nannies such as weekend pay expectations, a list of questions for potential employers and more.
Life Resources Support:
Single Stop: Single Stop USA is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping financially vulnerable families and students gain economic mobility by connecting them to existing benefits and services intended for them.
Pay and Overtime
--- Guaranteed minimum wage rate of $7.25.
--- Overtime pay of time-and-a-half of the worker’s regular rate of pay for every hour over 40 hours worked in a wee (44 for live-in workers).
---Any worker who works more than 40 hours a week must be supplied temporary disability benefits by their employer.
Protection from harassment
---Workers are protected from harassment based on gender, race, religion or national origin.
---One day (24 hours) of rest per week
---3 sick days per year after the a year's tenure.
Things to be keep in mind about your job
Getting Paid ON THE BOOKS
Why get paid on the books?
- It's the law. It is illegal to be receive financial compensation without paying the appropriate taxes.
- You'll be eligible to receive unemployment if you are laid off without cause. (NOTE: If you are paid 'off the books' you can still fight for unemployment but it's more difficult)
- You'll be enrolled in Social Security and Medicare Benefits, so you'll have security in retirement.
- You'll have Disability Benefits. (If you become ill, are injured, or take maternity leave you can receive benefits while you can't work
- You'll build a "employment history," necessary for things such as credit cards, auto insurance, credit ratings and buying big ticket items like a house or car.
Understanding how your pay is impacted being "On The Books"
Your employer is required to pay your Social Security, Medicare and Federal and State unemployment. They will also pay for your disability. They are also responsible for paying disability. On top of that YOU will owe federal and state taxes that your employer can take out FOR you. . (NOTE: Some employers will pay this for you so you have a higher take home pay, but they are not legally obligated to do so).
While you may want to keep the same take home pay that you had if you have been paid off the books in the past, know that the benefits of being paid on the books is better than the extra money, which WILL come back to you down the road
Questions to ask your employer about being paid on the books:
Is my hourly rate pre-tax or take home?
What you're asking is whether you'll walk away with $X/hourr or $X-taxes/hour. For example, if your pay is $15/hour pre-tax, then your take home pay, after taxes, is about $12.35/hour. So if you're making $15/hour and working 40 hours, your take-home pay would be around $494 (not $600). However, if the hourly rate is take-home, your employer will be paying in about $18.25/hour ($729/week), so that you walk away with the full $15/hour (or $600/wk).
There's a good Nanny Paycheck Calculator HERE if you want to better understand the potential of an on the books job.
BEFORE YOU’RE HIRED
Review the Nanny Contract/Work Agreement (you can find an example here). Even if your employer does not want to sign it, you should be aware of all the things that it spells out. Discussing things up front can save a lot of trouble in the long run.
Holidays - Negotiate ALL holidays up front. Some employers don’t get basic days off like MLK Day and Presidents’ Day, while others do but may expect you to work. Know what to expect and spell it out! There’s nothing as awkward as finding out that you have to work when you thought you’d have the day off.
Nanny Vacation Time Off - If an employer travels a lot and gives you a month off during the year, for example, they may be shocked to learn that you want time off of your own choosing and feel like are demading too much. Negotiate whether you will be able to take your own time off or if you’re expected to take time off only when they are off. Discuss this up-front in case you want to take a trip for a family reunion you don’t have to feel like you’re putting them out.
Sick Days - If you don’t use your sick days, do you expect to get extra pay? Do the days roll into another year (like at some jobs) or are they lost?
Other Duties - Some employers want their person they hire to be both a nanny and housekeeper. This may include doing laundry or other housework on a regular basis when the opportunity arises. Others don’t mind if you just stick to childcare. Either way, make sure you’re clear on each other’s expectations before you take the job. (Your ability to help with things changes as a child grows-- so review the expected responsibilities with your employer.)
Salary vs. Hourly - Some employers will pay you for a certain number of hours and if they go over those hours they’ll pay you overtime. Others will pay you a set salary for a number of hours (e.g., 35 hours) but expect that over the course of the year you’ll work a few more hours one week and a few less another, averaging out in the end to be fair.
Guaranteed Hours - Will you get paid even if you don’t work? While there’s an underlying assumption that nannies get paid even when the family is on vacation, some employers instead pay on a “pay as you work” basis. Discuss this up front so you aren’t surprised to find out that you only get paid if you work and it’s the employer who decides. Other employers may want to have you do errand running or household chores at times when they are home with the kids.
Raises - When can you expect to get a raise? After 6 months? A year? If you’re being hired to work for one child will pay be increased if they have a second child? If so, how much (normal pay bump is $2-$3/hour). Know this beforehand so you can be prepared. Realize that you may have to broach the subject of a raise because it may not be on the employer’s radar screen.
Meetings - Ask for reviews of your work or “monthly sit-downs” (or as necessary). They provide an appropriate time and space to discuss your working relationship when you’re not in the middle of the comings and goings of daily routine. They don’t have to be long meetings. You may want to discuss subtle changes to your work (coming earlier, staying later), upcoming kid changes (potty training, transition to a new bed, etc.), and also any lingering questions or issues that shouldn’t be left to “fester” and create negativity. They should also happen during your working hours, during time you’re being paid for.
Nanny Camera - Be clear that you are absolutely okay if your employer wants to videotape your behavior when you’re on the job. Request that if they DO want to videotape you that you’d appreciate honesty rather than finding out that there’s a secret nanny camera. There’s nothing to ruin a working relationship than deceit.
Ask about cologne—Some parents don’t like their babies to smell like the nanny’s cologne.
Fingernails—Some parents worry that their children will get scratched if the nanny has long fingernails.
Dress Code—If your employer expects you to slide down the slide and chase your ward in the park, this is difficult to do in high heels, so make sure you know what’s expected in your dress. This is true as well for too much make-up.
ON THE JOB
Cell-phones/Earphones - Have a clear idea of what employers expect in terms of your ability to talk on your cell phone or listen to music when you are on the job. Realize that they may not be okay with you listening to music or talking on the phone, even if they do.
Taking Personal Days Off—Give your employer as much notice as possible if you need to take a day off. Obviously this doesn’t include emergencies, but if you have medical appointments, etc., lead time is crucial for working parents to make necessary plans. If you can help with replacements that the employer knows and trusts, all the better.
Your Relationship with the Kids— Face it, mothers don’t want their kids to like the nanny better, so balance your feelings and relationships with the kids carefully. If the kids are calling you “Mommy,” quickly teach them to call you something else. Furthermore, comments such as, “I’ve raised that baby since she was born. She’s really my child” can be taken as a slight to the mother and cause employers to feel that you are undermining their job as “primary caretaker.” No matter who you are talking to (especially the mother) keep these comments or feelings to yourself (even if they are true!)
Discussing Bad Mommies in Public - Unhappy in your job or with your employer? While you may be frustrated with your employer, watch what you say to other people and don’t badmouth them. Especially don’t talk about your frustrations in front of 1) the kids (no matter how old) and 2) at the playground in earshot of mothers who might know your employer. Talk to people you trust in a secure location. (Don’t worry, I’ll be telling mommies the same thing in another document).
Gossip - No matter what you do or how well you’re doing your job, at some point you may end up having people talk about you behind your back, either to your employer or among their friends. There are even websites devoted to anonymous reports of “bad” nannies (some of whom might deserve it, alongside others who are being unfairly targeted). Either way, it’s an unfortunate part of the territory, and there’s little you can do to stop it except to keep doing your job the way you know how and hope that the gossipers eventually lose interest and move on. If you feel like it’s getting out of hand, you might want to bring it up with your employer so they know your side of the story; they’ll appreciate your candor, and you won’t be as distracted wondering what they might be hearing from somebody else.
Whatever you do, don’t let it draw you into arguments or conflicts with the people involved. Fair or not, no employer wants a nanny who seems to attract drama. Just turn the other cheek and stay positive about your work and yourself. And remember that the gossips are a small minority among the thousands of people who appreciate and respect the nannies in our community.
OTHER JOB RESOURCES: